A Book Gallery: Time Loops, books where time is on repeat for teens
Because today is the day that we call Groundhog Day, I present to you a gallery of YA literature that features Time Loops. These are books that have a small segment of a day or a day itself that repeats over and over again. A co-worker recently told me she was going to do a display on this topic and asked for some book recommendations and honestly, what a fun display idea.
23 Minutes is a fascinating book where a girl walks into a bank and keeps repeating the same 23 minutes in an effort to stop a robbery gone wrong. It is the shortest amount of time in any of the time loop novels.
What are some other time loop novels that you recommend?
Neverworld Wake: Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her five best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim–their creative genius and Beatrice’s boyfriend–changed everything. One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft–the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world–hoping she’ll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened. Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers . . . and at life
23 Minutes: A teen girl races against the clock to prevent a terrible tragedy in this time travel suspense thriller that will keep middle grade and young adult readers on the edges of their seats By both society s measure and her own, fifteen-year-old Zoe Mahar is pretty much a loser. Then one day she ducks into Spencerport Savings and Loan simply to get out of the rain and witnesses a bank robbery gone horrifyingly wrong. The good news is that Zoe has a unique ability: she can play back time and repeat events. But it’s not an unlimited deal she can only jump 23 minutes, and her first playback creates an even more disastrous outcome. Zoe has only ten tries to get it right before this particular 23 minutes becomes irreversible. But in the process of trying to become the heroine she doesn’t believe she can be, Zoe will learn about herself and realize that there is more to who she is than she thought.
See You Yesterday: A New York Times bestseller! From the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow comes a magical, “emotionally savvy[,] and genuinely romantic” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) story in the vein of Groundhog Day about a girl forced to relive her disastrous first day of college-only to discover that her nemesis is stuck in the time loop with her. Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, everything goes wrong. She’s humiliated by the know-it-all in her physics class, she botches her interview for the college paper, and at a party that night, she accidentally sets a frat on fire. She panics and flees, and when she realizes her roommate locked her out of their dorm, she falls asleep in the common room. The next morning, Barrett’s perplexed to find herself back in her dorm room bed, no longer smelling of ashes and crushed dreams. It’s September 21st. Again. And after a confrontation with Miles, the guy from Physics 101, she learns she’s not alone-he’s been trapped for months. When her attempts to fix her timeline fail, she agrees to work with Miles to find a way out. Soon they’re exploring the mysterious underbelly of the university and going on wild, romantic adventures. As they start falling for each other, they face the universe’s biggest unanswered question yet: what happens to their relationship if they finally make it to tomorrow?
Pretty in Punxsutawney: The only thing worse than the first day of senior year at a new high school is reliving it over, and over again. This ? Groundhog Day ? meets Pretty in Pink mashup has Andie using all of her film knowledge to find out how to break the curse. Could it be true love’s first kiss? Or is it reconciling with her own misconceptions? Only time will tell. Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say after it’s too late to say it. In a disastrous first day full of mishap at her new high school in Punxsutawney, PA, she just wants to disappear. Her passion and knowledge of movies – from rom coms to suspense and everything in between – made her think a fresh start would be easy, and maybe lead to her first kiss. When she wakes up caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, Andie decides to take matters into her own hands and find a way to stop the time loop – whatever it takes. Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques-from the jocks to the nerds to the misfits-to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings. Pretty in Punxsutawney : Includes tropes of – coming of age, first kiss, first crush, true love, and misfits Addresses social issues of self-discovery, navigating cliques, and overcoming stereotypes Is an homage to beloved 80s movies, such as John Hughes’? The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, ?and? Pretty in Pink ? Is perfect for fans of This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender or The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn Is a 2020 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
Opposite of Always: When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. But then Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.
The Do-Over: In this riotous young adult romp for fans of Recommended for You and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, a teen girl has the worst Valentine’s Day ever—only to relive it over and over again.
The Loop: Ben and Maggie have met, fallen in love, and died together countless times. Over the course of two pivotal days—both the best and worst of their lives—they struggle again and again to resist the pull of fate and the force of time itself.
Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children: Jacob, 16, has seen horrible things. After a terrifying family tragedy, he is sent to an island, where he finds an abandoned orphanage. Here photos tell the twisted tales of the establishment’s residents. Jacob suspects they were dangerous … and he has the strangest feeling that they might still be alive.
A Week of Mondays: After her boyfriend breaks up with her on the worst day of her life, sixteen-year-old Ellie finds herself reliving the same horrible Monday over and over and decides to use her unique situation to reinvent herself in an attempt to save her relationship.
Before I Fall: Samantha has it all–looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. After she dies in a car crash, she relives the day of her death over and over again until, on the seventh day, she finally discovers a way to save herself.
Filed under: Book Gallery, Reader's Advisory
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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