By: A.I. Goldfarb
Publisher: World Castle Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: December 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: January 2016
Computer gaming and real life adventure collide in A.I. Goldfarb’s current Science Fiction/Young Adult adventure: Time Tracer.
Leo Dawson is the 15-year old poster child when it comes to the world of gaming. If it were up to him, school, chores and the mundane task of interacting with humans would not be on his list of ‘top ten things’ to do. Rather, he would much prefer to spend countless hours in each of his today’s in front of his computer screen interacting with the likes of his adversary Caspertin. Much to his chagrin, reality taps Leo on the shoulder and reminds him it’s time to get a move-on. He is headed to Atwood, Michigan with his dad to check on his grandparent’s home.
On the drive to Atwood, Leo is lost in his memories of near victory on his computer game. He plays multiple scenarios in his head of what it will take to conquer the villains and be the number one gamer amongst his on-line adversaries. As they arrive at his grandparent’s home, reality comes crashing back and it is time to roll up their sleeves and hunker down to do the much-needed repairs of a home, in Leo’s opinion, that has stood well beyond its time to stand. As they settle into the work at hand, there is a sound at the door. When Leo’s dad, Kevin, opens the door, he is left speechless at what appears on its other side. His beloved dog Skipper disappeared thirty years earlier, yet here he is now. When Leo appears by his dad’s side, he is just as surprised and offers to assist in finding the dog’s rightful owner. Imagine his surprise when Kevin tells Leo he knows the owner...it is him. Of course, this is the mere tip of the iceberg in what comes to pass between father and son in the few short days to come...
Time travel is one of those topics that fits well within the realm of leprechauns and their respective pots of gold at the end of the rainbow or perhaps unicorns and the wonder of whether they truly do exist (or not). A.I. Goldfarb deserves big props for anchoring a story steeped in future world adventure and real-life possibilities across the pages of Time Tracer. Her intentional word placement commands the attention of her YA audience to consider fantastic possibilities and her conduit is a 15-year-old boy. She makes him the star and draws him away from his computer gaming adventures into a real-life experience with his dad. The plot is realistic in that it builds on the back story villain who is a serial killer who was never caught during his dad’s childhood only to resurface thirty years later in Leo’s present day world. Of course, the only way to get the evil that lurks from then to now is to enlist time traveling abilities. Goldfarb fluidly guides the reader from the past to the present to the future effortlessly in that the transitions are smooth from one period to the next. She establishes enough “show” in each scene as she subliminally guides the reader to the next period without obvious cliché or too much telling along the way. To assist in the memory of the story living beyond its proverbial ‘end,’ Goldfarb encourages the reader to revel in its outcome with a wonderful Study Guide at book’s end. What a clever enhancement to further cement the joy of reading in a young person’s world.
Quill says: Time Tracer is a great Sci-Fi/YA read that promises to draw the most committed gamer away from the joy stick and into the pages of a most enjoyable adventure.