The best books where time is out to get you

Why am I passionate about this?

During my fifth year teaching 7th grade, I found myself repeating the same lessons as prior years, participating in the same club events, marching in the same parades, etc. My students would inevitably reach the end of the school year and move on, while I was forever frozen in 7th grade. Herein my fascination with time loops was born. Over a decade later, I’m now happily teaching high school English while moonlighting as a writer of stories featuring temporal anomalies and time travel. I hope to spread my wings into dystopians and fractured fairy tales in the future, but until then…I may or may not have 22 clocks in my house.

I wrote...

Chasing Echoes

By Jodi Perkins,

Book cover of Chasing Echoes

What is my book about?

Taz wants nothing to do with Stryder Black. She certainly doesn't believe the dark and moody high school senior when he says he’s trapped in a "curse." But when an unfortunate touch and some bad timing yank Taz thirteen days into the past, she knows she's in trouble.

Now Taz is trapped in a time loop with her nemesis…Stryder. Worse, the curse is dropping days. Taz knows she must set aside her hatred for Stryder in order to unravel this mess, but trust is tricky when they both have secrets. Is Stryder’s murky past the key to their escape? Or does the answer lie somewhere within Taz’s own bizarre ‘gift’? The clock is ticking, and the next strike could mean death.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Before I Fall

Jodi Perkins Why did I love this book?

Before I Fall is Mean Girls meets Groundhog Day, with the popular and pretty protagonist, Sam, forced to relive February 12th (her beloved “Cupid’s Day”) over and over. In the beginning, I had no love for Sam and was appalled by her and her friend’s nasty behavior, but Sam’s character growth throughout the novel is inspirational. The time-turning in the novel is handled flawlessly with repeated events never growing dull, and each new loop offering another layer to Sam’s redemption. Admittedly the book didn’t end the way I wanted (I’m a fan of fairy tale endings, even if unrealistic), but watching Sam evolve from a shallow mean girl to a beautiful soul was a moving experience and made the book worth the read.

By Lauren Oliver,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Before I Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A bestselling summer read as heartbreaking as The Lovely Bones and as gripping as Jenny Downham's Before I Die.

**Now a major Netflix movie starring Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller, Kian Lawley*

'Gossip Girl meets Groundhog Day' Grazia

'Tender, funny and raw' Marie Claire

'A clever, funny, insightful and utterly addictive novel' Daily Mail

'Compelling and poignant, a truly memorable read' Closer

They say 'live every day as if it's your last' - but you never actually think it's going to be. At least I didn't.
The thing is, you don't get to know when it happens. You don't…

Book cover of Replay

Jodi Perkins Why did I love this book?

In Replaya 43-year-old average Joe sustains a fatal heart attack and awakens in his college dorm as his 18-year-old self. Replay doesn’t have the same immediacy and gripping nature as typical time loop tropes since readers follow the protagonist through decades of his life rather than a single week or day, but I will forever be indebted to Ken Grimwood for introducing me to the concept of a dwindling time loop. Also, the book sparked deep feelings of wonder in me, making me contemplate my own life decisions, highlights, regrets, wasted time, and opportunities…and compelling me to hug my kids. I wouldn’t call this an upbeat read, but it’s wonderfully philosophical and provocative. Life is short and this book reminds you of that.

By Ken Grimwood,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Replay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

At forty-three Jeff Winston is tired of his low-paid, unrewarding job, tired of the long silences at the breakfast table with his wife, saddened by the thought of no children to comfort his old age. But he hopes for better things, for happiness, maybe tomorrow ...

But a sudden, fatal heart attack puts paid to that. Until Jeff wakes up in his eighteen-year-old body, all his memories of the next twenty-five years intact. If he applies those memories, he can be rich in this new chance at life and can become one of the most powerful men in America.


Book cover of UnHappenings

Jodi Perkins Why did I love this book?

UnHappenings is a diamond in the indie-published rough. In the novel, important people and events are deleted from Nigel Walden’s life (such as his first kiss) with no indication they ever existed. I spent the entire novel either gripped by the intriguing storyline or feeling heartbroken for the protagonist over his every tiny joy in life being sabotaged. My favorite part of the book was a barrage of unexpected apocalypses that extended through a few chapters. It was far-fetched, macabre, and unintentionally (but delightfully) humorous. If you've ever wondered what might happen if a madman with time travel capabilities and unlimited resources threw one big temper tantrum, this book will give you that answer. Overall, UnHappenings is not a light, feel-good novel, but it is engrossing, thoughtful, and addictive.

By Edward Aubry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked UnHappenings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Nigel Walden is fourteen, the UNHAPPENINGS begin. His first girlfriend disappears the day after their first kiss with no indication she ever existed. This retroactive change is the first of many only he seems to notice.

Several years later, when Nigel is visited by two people from his future, he hopes they can explain why the past keeps rewriting itself around him. But the enigmatic young guide shares very little, and the haggard, incoherent, elderly version of himself is even less reliable. His search for answers takes him fifty-two years forward in time, where he finds himself stranded and…

Book cover of Fifteen Minutes to Live

Jodi Perkins Why did I love this book?

Fifteen Minutes to Live is like a darker, more intense version of 50 First Dates. In the novel, 36-year-old Carl discovers that his high-school sweetheart, Jesse, is losing her memories of recent events every 15 minutes, compelling him to weed through a web of secrets to find out the truth about her. Carl is a genuine and relatable protagonist whose imperfections are a breath of fresh air. He’s self-deprecating with amusing quirks (like trying to befriend a raccoon), and his love for Jesse, though not always noble or logical, is fierce and moving. Likewise, Jesse manages to shine with strength and determination, despite the fact that her memory resets every 15 minutes. I’m also a fan of the intense “up against the clock” storyline, which offers great edge-of-your-seat moments.

By Phoef Sutton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fifteen Minutes to Live as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Phoef Sutton has a wonderful and unique voice. This is a romantic tale, full of suspense and human emotion. It's also funny in its own special way. Once I started it, I couldn't stop," Janet Evanovich, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The outrageously inventive, exhilarating, sexually-charged thriller from Emmy Award-winning writer Phoef Sutton.

Carl moved into his childhood home after his parents died. It’s a house filled with fond memories…like when he was a teenager and his girlfriend Jesse would throw pebbles at his window at night to lure him outside for frantic sex. So he thinks he’s dreaming…

Book cover of One Second After

Jodi Perkins Why did I love this book?

In One Second After, everything about our comfortable, familiar world is turned upside-down in the blink of an eye. In his novel, Forstchen examines how reliant we are on our infrastructure and how quickly we degenerate once that network is broken. The book, while not a great feat of literature, is fast-paced and enjoyable. Despite a few one-dimensional characters, gender stereotypes, and occasional flat dialogue, I loved the invaluable information about EMPs (a topic I never knew I wanted to know more about) and appreciated the novel’s harsh, unflinching vision of how fragile our society is. The idea that everything you know and love can change in one measly second is a powerful lesson that should be pondered not just through the lens of EMPs, but in general life.

By William R. Forstchen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked One Second After as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A post-apocalyptic thriller of the after effects in the United States after a terrifying terrorist attack using electromagnetic pulse weapons.

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real...a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages...A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Months before…

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Split Decision

By David Perlmutter,

Book cover of Split Decision

David Perlmutter Author Of The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a freelance writer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, specializing in media history and speculative fiction. I have been enchanted by animation since childhood and followed many series avidly through adulthood. My viewing inspired my MA thesis on the history of animation, out of which grew two books on the history and theory of animation on television, America 'Toons In: A History of Television Animation (available from McFarland and Co.) and The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows (available from Rowman and Littlefield). Hopefully, others will follow.

David's book list on understanding the history of animation

What is my book about?

Jefferson Ball, the mightiest female dog in a universe of the same, is, despite her anti-heroic behavior, intent on keeping her legacy as an athlete and adventurer intact. So, when female teenage robot Jody Ryder inadvertently angers her by smashing her high school records, Jefferson is intent on proving her superiority by outmuscling the robot in a not-so-fair fight. Not wanting to seem like a coward, and eager to end her enemy's trash talking, Jody agrees.

However, they have been lured to fight each other by circumstances beyond their control. Which are intent on destroying them if they don't destroy each other in combat first...

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