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7 Must-Read Time Travel Fiction Books

As an adult reader, I was initially attracted to books that took place in the present because I could relate to them. I often found myself passing on any books that referenced time travel because I thought they would be quirky or too scientific. As my love for reading continues to blossom, my reading preferences have also evolved to encompass time travel escapades with cherished characters.


I admire how authors of time travel fiction books have found unique ways to navigate a change in time within their stories, maintaining a delicate equilibrium that ensures the narrative remains captivating without being overshadowed by far-fetched time travel ideas. Additionally, some of these books intricately explore historical events and concepts, adding depth and richness to the storytelling experience.


If you are leery of time travel books like I once was, cast your fears aside and try a few of these recommended reads! Whether you prefer general fiction, historical fiction, a romantic comedy, or even a holiday book, chances are that one of these time travel fiction books will capture your interest and connect with you!



Old sepia map with clock


A few of my favorite Time Travel Fiction Books:


The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain is one of my most recommended books. This is the book to pick up if you need to break a reading slump! In this book, Caroline is pregnant and it's the 1970's. She's learned that her child will have a medical condition that, at the time, the medical community cannot do much to help.


However, she's been asked to trust a process and that there IS an answer that can provide the medical help. In order to get the help that she's after, she needs to travel into the future.


I had been skeptical about reading this book at first, putting it off for several months after my mother told me I had to read it. I thought it all sounded so far fetched, but it's written beautifully. Not only do you have many stories interwoven together, but you get to see some historical events captured in such a unique way. Pick this book up!!!



Kindred Book Cover

Kindred by Octavia E Butler is a book that piqued my interest when my son mentioned that he was genuinely enjoying reading it for his AP English class, despite it being his least favorite subject. Curious to know what had captivated him, I decided to read it too and took the chance to engage in our own little "book club" discussions during dinner.


The book uses time travel to illustrate the contrasting experiences of light versus dark skinned individuals in 1976 compared to the early 1800s.


Dana becomes very dizzy one day and is transported to a moment when a young boy named Rufus is drowning. Dana is a black woman and Rufus and his family are white . Not only are they shocked that she just appeared, but they don't understand what she is doing to save him. Rufus breathes, but his dad aims a rifle at Dana, scaring her right back to her own time.


Back in the current time, Dana tells her husband, Kevin, what just happened. It's hard to believe, but yet he knows SOMETHING happened because he witnessed her disappear and then reappear with his own eyes. She has it occur again, but for a longer duration shortly after.


Kevin decides he's going to go with her next time she has an episode and when he realizes she's getting dizzy again, he holds on to her and they are both catapulted through time. Now they need to be very careful because they are a mixed race couple and that will not bode well in the historical time.


Time moves at a normal pace when they are in the past - Dana being "summoned" by Rufus anytime he's in serious danger, but it virtually stands still in the present while they are gone. So every time she goes back, she's almost unchanged, while Rufus, his family and the slaves at the plantation are aging normally.


This is an excellent book. Challenging to read at times due to the difficulty in understanding how people could have enslaved others and mistreated them so cruelly. Certain parts are highly vivid and unsettling, particularly when considering the harsh reality of historical life.



The Seven Year Slip

Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston is a book that I selected when researching the author and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! My book club nominated another book by the author, The Dead Romantics, for an upcoming month and I wanted to learn more about Ashley's writing style by reading another novel written by her.


Time travel is a key element in this book, as the apartment where Clementine now resides (which used to belong to her beloved aunt) has the power to transport its occupants back 7 years in time. Initially, Clementine had just entertained her aunt's tales of this ability, until one day when she experienced it firsthand.


A stranger was in the kitchen. And it was seven years earlier. A time when not only is her aunt still alive, but she remembers that the two of them are out traveling. So while her past self was busy exploring the world, her future self occasionally steps into this transition in the apartment where she's sharing the apartment with a man that her aunt had said could stay while they were gone.


He was handsome and easy to talk with and she was able to develop an immediate bond with him. But one of her aunts strict rules was never to fall in love IN the apartment. It didn't help that she had no control over which timeline the apartment would be in when she returned home from work. Life continued as normal outside of the apartment, but within the unit, she could be in the past OR the present.


Side note - loved that his nickname for her was Lemon 🍋 ! So cute!



The Second Chance Year

The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner 4.5 🌟 = Very easy to read and enjoyable fiction book with light moments, some very normal topics, and a time travel situation. Also has one of my favorite tropes: Boy falls first!


Sadie has had a horrible year. In the past few months, she's managed to lose her job and get blacklisted in the community. After her boyfriend broke up with her, she ended up crashing at her brother's best friends place for several months. Jacob has been practically a part of the family since they were kids, and while Sadie and Jacob aren't tight, he doesn't bother her and she doesn't bother him so the roommate situation works.


New Years Eve, Sadie goes out with her friend to celebrate, almost inviting Jacob. She feels a slight change in the air that day with how they connect, but dismisses it. While she's out, she sees a fortune teller and asks for a chance to redo this year and follows the instructions provided. Then there is an amazing kiss with Jacob that has sparks flying.


But when she wakes up, the person next to her is NOT Jacob. It's her ex. And she's back her old place that she shared with him exactly one year ago and it's her second chance to fix all of the things that went wrong during the year.


The only issue is that her changes don't just impact her, they change everyone around her. Some changes are for the better and some cause suffering (of others and herself). She's haunted by the memory of that passionate moment with Jacob. Will that impact how she lives this new chance at life?



The Do-Over

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter - I went into this YA book blind (as I typically do), so honestly I was thinking that it would be a second chance romance. But nope, that's not what the title is about - this book has Emilie getting stuck in a time loop on the worst Valentine's Day she's had yet. And she keeps reliving it!


Emilie lives a life of structure. She makes lists, her boyfriend checks all of the boxes, and she's got a solid future. Everything is perfect.


Until it isn't.


She's got big dreams on Valentine's Day - to exchange presents with her 3 month long boyfriend and to finally say the "L" word.


But that all goes awry as the day keeps falling apart. She wrecked her car and had to deal with her arch enemy at school. Her summer plans are canceled, potentially impacting her college future. She keeps missing her boyfriend and can't make the exchange. Then to top it off, she witnesses her boyfriend kissing his ex.


It's the worst day ever.


And when she wakes up the next morning, it repeats.


She tries several things to change the course of the day and get out of the time loop, but nothing works until she goes to the extreme.


The DONC (Day of No Consequences) changes everything.



The Good Part

The Good Part by Sophie Cousens - We've all been there: going through the motions of life and not really happy. This is currently Lucy's situation. Her job isn't what she expected at this point, her love life is disappointing, she's living in a shared apartment that needs some tender loving care, and she's 26 years old.


She walks into a small store after another date gone wrong and is drawn to a wishing machine. For just $.10 (and an extra penny for it to stamp), the machine claims to grant wishes. As a joke, she puts the coins in and wishes to "skip to the good part".


The next day, she wakes up to a completely different world - one in which she's married to a handsome man, has a powerful job, and two kids to boot. The big problem is that she remembers none of the 16 years that are missing and feels detached from the new life.


Unsure how to get back to her old life she does what she can to acclimate to her new reality.


In a Holidaze

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren Maelyn is not having the best life right now and is in a rut. For the holidays, she's heading to the family cabin with two other families as they've always done for decades. There is a crazy time loop thing that keeps occurring (it reminds me a bit of the movie "50 First Dates" where the day keeps happening over with slight changes). These authors (it's a duo) turn the event into a hilarious holiday adventure with love and holiday wishes.



Conclusion:


As you finish exploring these 7 must-read time travel novels, I encourage you to embrace the adventure and creativity they offer. Time travel fiction can be a gateway to extraordinary worlds and experiences, blending the familiar with the fantastical in ways that can deeply resonate. Whether you're seeking a gripping historical journey, a lighthearted romantic escapade, or an intriguing twist on the present, these books promise to deliver. Give them a chance, and you may find yourself delightfully surprised by the unique and captivating stories waiting within their pages.


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