Camille DeAngelis’s The Boy from Tomorrow is a complex and beautiful puzzle of times and places that comes together in a way that is a little bit eerie, a little bit sad, and a little bit hopeful.
Twelve-year-old Alec and his mother have just moved into the old Victorian house at 444 Sparrow Street when he discovers an antique talking board in a cupboard. When he first tries to use it, he meets Josie. She is also twelve, and she also lives at 444 Sparrow Street––though one hundred years in the past.
As Josie and Alec get to know one another across the insurmountable span of time, it becomes clear to Alec that he must find a way to help Josie and her little sister, Cass, escape from a danger that has long since passed.
The novel grabs attention from its very first page, when Josie describes the psychic tools in her mother’s library. The house’s atmosphere is masterfully captured, both in the Victorian period and in modernity. Characters are just as thoroughly rendered, particularly Alex, Josie, and Cass, who search for friendship and belonging. The joy and sorrow of an impossible friendship across time come through.
There book covers difficult topics: infidelity, divorce, child abuse, and death. These are not presented as problems to solve, but rather as realities that must be faced. The extraordinary circumstances of the story make such realities less scary, though no less real.
The Boy from Tomorrow is a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy that will appeal to a wide range of readers, all of whom will find it difficult to put down.
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