Countdown to Yesterday

S. & S. Jun. 2024. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665948517.
Gr 3-7–When his parents separate, 11-year-old James’s entire life turns upside down. He now has to swap between two homes and navigate shifting relationships with his parents, each of whom are trying to find themselves again after this major change. As his mother embraces mismatched color schemes and his father begins to rebuild a motorbike, James, now lonely at home as well as at school, meets Yan. The two budding scientists develop a friendship, and Yan agrees to use her time machine to send James back to one of his favorite memories. But James starts learning that memories aren’t always trustworthy, and that it may be best to leave them in the past. Centered around the Summerlake Primary School Cake Competition, a significant fundraiser for James’s school, this work explores different types of belonging, each linked by ideas of time and space. Six chapters interspaced between the main plot detail, the memories most important to James, offer readers a closer look at his complex family dynamic. The depths of emotion within the main characters, combined with a strong nostalgic feel, create a work that will stay with readers.
VERDICT A moving story with a pleasing twist ending.

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