Monday 18 April 2011

A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler

Book published in April 2011 by Orion Children's Books
Pages - 246
Aimed at 9-12 year olds
Book kindly sent to be reviewed by the publisher

'Stop the car!'
'What?' Dad swivels round in his seat. The car jerks into a swerve.
'Good grief, Tom! Mum squeals, gripping her arm rest as she pulls a was of tissues out of her bag.
'Stop the car!' I repeat. It's going to be too late in a  minutes. I grab the tissues from Mum and shove them over Craig's mouth.
Dad pulls over just in time and Craig lurches out of his seat, runs to the gravelly path by the side of the road and doubles over. 
The car stinks of sick for the rest of the journey.

Jenni Green is off on holiday with her parents to the same destination that they go to every year.  Not that Jenni minds because she gets to spent the week with her best friend Autumn.  Yet something goes slightly wrong with this annual trip and Jenni finds herself transported a year into the future, where Autumn's life has hit rock bottom. Something tragic occurred the year before which shattered the lives of Autumn and her family as well as ruining the long term friendship of Jenni and Autumn.  Can Jenni figure out what happened to change Autumn's life so drastically and can she turn back time to stop whatever happened occurring.

If you are looking for an awesome time travel novel, then this is the book for you.  Liz Kessler introduced time travel so smoothly into the story that I never doubted its credibility once. The author has managed to breathe reality into science fiction.

I know book reviews are not meant to be personal, but I cannot help but love a book that instantly catapults me back to my past and that first paragraph had me travelling in the back of the car with my parents on numerous long journeys to Devon. Not the best traveller and long before travel sickness pills came into fashion, I was Craig!

The book is written is present tense which I normally whinge about as it is one of my pet hates, but I cannot say it affected my enjoyment of the story at all. In fact, I didn't notice it after the first page, which is amazing for me. The story is extremely well written and highly polished allowing the story to just flow off the page.

This book may only be 246 pages, but it has a lot packed into it. I was completely captivated from the first page and ended up reading it in one sitting. I was desperate to discover how Jenni would deal with her unusual situation.  There is no sign of predictability within this book and I found myself constantly surprised by the route the story took.

I loved all the characters within the book and instantly felt their anguish when their personal situations changed. Jenni was my favourite character and I loved how her desperation changed her character for the better and made her so much stronger. She dealt with the time travel situation thrust upon her with maturity and grace.

One of the main themes dealt with in this book is friendship; the author explores how a cross word can turn friendship to hate. The story provides a strong reminder of how we should treat the people close to us. Liz Kessler also focuses on the possibility of small random acts changing your future forever. The theme reminded me of a short story I read during secondary school which was called The Butterfly Effect, where one minor choice can have major effects on the future. The whole theory is quite mind boggling. This book will definitely make you look closer at the choices and actions you make in life and how little things can escalate into bigger issues.

This is the first book I have read by Liz Kessler and I can say with absolute certainty that it won't be the last. I love her descriptive style of writing.  The way she conjured up nostalgic memories of my own childhood caught me by surprise. This book may be aimed at 9 to 12 year olds, but I found it to be ageless. I know without a doubt that readers in my age bracket will love it.

When you read this book, expect the unexpected and freeze reality for a while in order to believe in the unbelievable!

I have two copies of 'A Year Without Autumn' to give away over at Goodreads. So please do go over and enter if you would like the chance to win a copy.


  1. This sounds so good! I love and feel free top make a book review personal - I do :) If you love it- you love it! I am adding this to my list to look for!

  2. I've read a few positive reviews of this book and it is one that is definitely on my wish list.

    I love when a books ignites some sort of familiarity with the characters as it has done for you.

    Superb write up

    Jules x

  3. I don't read a lot of time travel, but have to say that book sounds great to me because of the friendship aspect. It sounds like it would make you reflect.

  4. Sheila - I always worry how the personal aspect in posts will be. taken.

    Jules - thank you. I like that kind of feel to. This is the second book I have read this week that has done that.

    Kathy - the friendship side is really intriguing.

  5. Fab review - I've heard a bit about it but I didn't know it had time traveller aspect and mentioning the butterfly effect sold it to me - I love stories which look at this :D

  6. Personally, I love when book reviews are made personal - that is why I prefer reading blogs to print publications. It's more interesting to know how a book particularly affects a specific reader.

    Now I need to go find you on GoodReads, because this book sounds fantastic. :)

  7. Jesse - it is one of the best time travel books I have read since The Time Traveller's Wife.

    L.L. Hi, what lovely comments, do come and find me on Good reads. I am still waiting for authorisation for the comp on Good reads, so do check back tomorrow if you can't enter it today.

  8. Great review! I've read a couple of good reviews for this one. Love the time travel theme!

  9. Sounds good :)

    Are you holding one of those goodreads giveaways? Didn't know .."normal" peeps could do that

  10. Leanna - I really could get into the time travel genre!

    Blodeuedd - yep you can run them on there. This will be my third.

  11. This one sounds good. Glad to hear its well written and had you hooked. 246 pages in one sitting is impressive!

  12. This really sounds good and I'm a sucker for time travel stories!

  13. Loved reading your review, Vivienne. This book sounds incredibly great!

  14. Another one here who is all for the personal style of reviewing. i want to know if you loved/hated the book and I want to know why. Much prefer this style of review from a real person :)

    Sounds a fab story!

  15. I'll start with my PS. ;) I really like when book reviews are personal--gives more of a connection to the book and makes me more likely to pick it up!

    This sounds like a really great read and I love the idea of travel in books. Glad you liked it, Viv!

    PPS--Miss your Life As We Know It feature! Don't remember seeing one for a while.

  16. You know, I don't think I've ever actually read a book about time travel (except for Necroscope maybe) but I really love the subject. (Back to the Future trilogy anyone?) :)

  17. This sounds like a really great book! Great review!

  18. What a wonderful review! I'll have to add this to my list.

  19. I really hope I can find a copy of this book somewhere (or even better - win it from your goodreads giveaway). :) Nice review!

  20. I am looking forward to this one with great wanting-ness!

  21. What an interesting review! I love the premise of it and the exploration of friendship and the small things that can change everything. Definitely one on my wishlist :)


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.