When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.
Okay. With a pitch like that, how could I say no? I immediately grabbed a NetGalley copy of Janet B. Taylor’s debut YA novel, INTO THE DIM which pubbed at March 1st.
Our main character Hope has a photographic memory and a mysterious past. Taylor does a wonderful job showing how this seemingly positive trait is also a huge challenge for Hope and integrates both the positive and negative into the plot. In cinematographic style, Taylor uses glowing green overlays of maps and routes, symbols, pages, and pictures to help Hope on her journey in a time that is not her own.
I fell into the writing and the story and found it as addictive as the summary states.
As the inept fan buzzed overhead, a quick, darting movement caught my eye. A small bird flitted among the rafters. Trapped. I knew exactly how it felt. (Chapter 1)
I burrowed between the sheets, praying sleep would erase the dread that slithered over my skin. (Chapter 11)
Bridal shades of moonlight and snow. (Chapter 40)
There were a few moments of cliché emotion, “drained–a wrung sponge left to dry on the sink,” and a little bit of cheese, “There comes a moment in every person’s life when fate wheels on the head of a pin and changes their destiny forever,” but Taylor’s apt use of a ticking clock propelled this reader through page after page. Too, in the middle of what could have been derivative, Taylor sets this time travel/historical apart by delving into more serious issues including antisemitism, the abuse of women, and women and power.
The love interest, Bran, felt a little too perfect (“drafted by an architect”) for me despite his “crooked canine” (tooth). Still, the origin of their love is a suspenseful reveal that lasts the whole the book.
From the first chapter I was hooked. Hope’s mission to save her mother and a focus on the scientific made me think of A WRINKLE IN TIME while the puzzles, symbols, and rivals for an artifact reminded me a little of DA VINCI CODE. Whatever comp title you love, INTO THE DIM is a fun YA read!