Nephele’s first year of high school is such a train wreck. The nickname Neffa-Freak catches on with the bullies and her BFF dumps her to go hang out with girls who aren’t called “aggressively weird.” For most kids, wishing for a do-over would be nothing but a dream. But not for a math genius who takes AP calculus with the seniors (and helps them with their homework). Inventing a time travel app takes the better part of summer vacation, and it works - sort of. While everyone else moves ahead, Nephele gets stuck in a time loop of year after year of ninth grade, joined each time with a new crop of last year’s eighth graders. Even during her first round of ninth grade, Nephele has the cynical voice of someone older than her years, and her sharp insights make for a laugh-out-loud read throughout the book. I’d guess that most of us could use more than four years to figure out high school (not that I’d go back!), and Nephele’s unwelcome odyssey turns poignant as she learns to embrace the endearingly weird aspects of her personality. Loved the time travel, but the coolest part? Watching Nephele figure out what it means to be a friend.— Jenny Chou
When Nephele has a terrible freshman year, she does the only logical thing for a math prodigy like herself: she invents a time travel app so she can go back and do it again (and again, and again) in this funny love story, Groundhog Day for the iPhone generation.
Fourteen-year-old Nephele used to have friends. Well, she had a friend. That friend made the adjustment to high school easily, leaving Nephele behind in the process. And as Nephele looks ahead, all she can see is three very lonely years.
Nephele is also a whip-smart lover of math and science, so she makes a plan. Step one: invent time travel. Step two: go back in time, have a do-over of 9th grade, crack the code on making friends and become beloved and popular.
Does it work? Sort of. Nephele does travel through time, but not the way she planned--she's created a time loop, and she's the only one looping. And she keeps looping, for ten years, always alone. Now, facing ninth grade for the tenth time, Nephele knows what to expect. Or so she thinks. She didn't anticipate that her new teacher would be a boy from her long ago ninth grade class, now a grown man; that she would finally make a new friend, after ten years. And, she couldn't have pictured someone like Jazz, with his deep violet eyes, goofy magic tricks and the quietly intense way he sees her. After ten freshman years, she still has a lot more to learn. But now that she's finally figured out how to go back, has she found something worth staying for?
About the Author
Sarah Lariviere's debut middle grade novel The Bad Kid (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) was a 2017 Edgar Award finalist. Sarah grew up in Champaign, Illinois, graduated with a degree in theater from Oberlin College and has a master's degree in social work from Hunter College in New York City, where she specialized in casework with children and families. She lives in San Francisco, California, where she is the Program Director at Arion Press, publisher of fine limited-edition artist books. Learn more at SarahLariviere.com or on Twitter at @sarahlariviere.
“Nephele’s introspective monologues are filled with elegantly descriptive detail, tending toward a rambling stream-of-consciousness that many readers will find winning.” —Publishers Weekly