Sales, Leila. Once Was a Time. Fiction. Chronicle, 04/2016. 324pp. $16.99. 978-1-4521-4009-4. OUTSTANDING. GRADES 4-7.
In 1940 England, ordinary British schoolgirls and best friends Lottie and Kitty make a plan to meet again should the war ever tear them apart. Just at the moment that their very lives are in danger, a time portal opens up and 10-year-old Lottie alone escapes through it. (Librarians can read the SLJ review to find out where she ends up.) Lottie’s hopeless desire to see Kitty again moves the story forward, but the tale is really about staying true to oneself despite grief and guilt, and also about how friends help or hinder one in that task. While the science is glossed over, there are surprises for the reader along the way, and one is still left to ponder the mystery of time. Ultimately uplifting, this story is an absorbing read.
Ann Hotta, Berkeley PL