The middle grade reading spree continues with a digital ARC of The Time Trap that I got from NetGalley.
The Time Trap did have a good message for kids whose parents are going through a divorce, but it all seemed very cliche. Telling kids that acting out won’t make their parents get back together, and telling them that they have to accept what happens and move on, is fine, is important, but it felt like the message was too loud. It took precedence over everything else. As a result, voice and character development suffered.
I almost stopped reading after the first chapter because of the lack of voice and personality. The sentences tended to be repetitive. However, I can very rarely bring myself to mark a book DNF.
Usually if I DNF, it’s because I am completely lost or because something bad happened to a dog. Neither happened with this book. I was just bored. A couple nights later, I picked it up again, hoping it got better. It didn’t, but it only took me an hour to finish it.
One thing I did like was the method the character used for time travel. That seemed a little original. But the rest was a little too cliche for me.
I know I’m not the target audience for this book, but I think as a kid, I would’ve had similar problems with it. I would’ve gotten bored. Back then, I didn’t care about finishing books unless I had to for school, so I would have stopped reading and I wouldn’t have known how to explain why I didn’t like it.
I can understand adults making things a little more obvious for kids, but this was too heavy handed. It’s a good example of what I want to avoid doing with my own middle grade novel. I think some telling is okay, but characters, their arc, and the actual story have to be more prominent that whatever message the author is trying to send.
Instead of smothering everything with the message, bring the story to life and pick a few relevant moments to have the character really stop and reflect on it.