This time it was the second book of Caroline B. Cooney's Time Travel Quartet, Out of Time. (I've decided I like the word quartet and think it should be used more often.) I first discovered Caroline B. Cooney, through this series when I was in middle school, and I feel absolutely in love with it. I probably would have given in five stars out of five, at the time. However, now, though I still love the book, and it makes for wonderful "in between books" reading, I'm not as impressed as I once been. Though if there is one thing I can say is that I will still read Ms. Cooney's books. Unlike Judy Blume who I had been forced to read in grade school. Though since I haven't read any of her work in years I can't actually say she was a bad author, I just hated her work because I was forced to read it. She was ruined for me since I won't go near anything by her, it's probably a shame. She's probably better than I think she is.
Anyway, on to Out of Time. I remember years ago, reading a children's book that explained how mystery novels (especially for children and young-adults) were made (or something of the sort). What I remember was that the first in the series Both Sides of Time matched what this book said very well. Not that I cared, or do now, I just found it interesting, and I often think of that book while I'm reading this series. Though I wonder if authors realize what they're doing at the time. I know I said on to Out of Time and got sidetracked.
Ok so quick summary. Annie Lockwood falls back in time, a little less than a hundred years, to find that more time has gone by for her friends of that time then it has for in her own time. Soon after entering 1895, Annie is instructed by Devonny, to rescue her brother Strat who is in an asylum, take him to his fiancee, who is suffering from consumption. If any problems occur Annie is to take Strat back with her to her time. Easy right? However, there are a number of problems; Annie is in love with Strat (who really wants to take the man they love to their fiancee?); Walk, Strat's ex best friend, is trying to keep everyone away from each other in hopes of marrying Devonny and getting all their money. He will do anything to accomplish this; Annie has no idea how to do anything, and it is basically all up to her.
The character of Annie, though of course the protagonist of the series, isn't as strong as she should be (or at least isn't as strong as the characters around her seem to think). It is clear that all she's looking for is romance. To have taught other female characters, Devonny, Florinda and Harriet to be strong, seems a little impossible to me. Sure she comes from a different time than they do, she is used to having more rights than them. But come on really? It seems to me that she's kind of a baby, cries a lot and is often at lost of things to do. Sure, the situation wasn't an easy one. However, Devonny has always seemed like a stronger character to me, yet Annie has taught her to be stronger? Not from where I'm standing I can tell you that much. Annie who talked/thought about saying things, didn't get around to saying things. It didn't seem to take much to get Annie to do things for other people. What about that sharp tongue we had heard about earlier?
There is one other thing I can think of that bothered me. The characters, some of the new introduced, and the lack of seeing others from the previous novel. I had come to like Florinda in the first book. I believe what was stated in Both Sides of Time that Florinda was a strong woman with no place to be strong. We saw her little in this book, and was able to see her as she was at the end of the first novel, however, I wish we got to see more of her, and how her character had grown. Now there was a few characters introduced also suffering from consumption (or so I assume), Beanie, Charlie and another whose name I can't remember (he was only seen once anyway). I wish that we had gotten to see more of them. They seemed to have been there simply for decoration purposes only, or at least Beanie for the most part, Charlie at least was some help in the end. Characters like Stephanie Rosette (who was only there for a few chapters) was given a back story, yet Charlie, who was seen often was not.
Still, was this the greatest book I've ever read? Of course not. But it remains one of my favorites. I give it a 3.5/5, however on Goodreads I rounded up and gave it 4/5.
This is a book from my own personal library.