Kally Bright is a teenager living in the year of 2184, in Chigo (once Chicago, Illinois) , in a totalitarian society in which people are given very little choice in anything they do. The government (now called govment) has outlawed and regulated many aspects of living, and now dictates who and when people marry.
On her sixteenth birthday, Kally finds out that she must marry a man who has already been married. If she refuses, she will be given a lower-paying job, which will make her life more difficult and further limit her options, much like her mother. Kally has a hobby of fixing clocks, which is also illegal. When she starts fixing a clock for an elderly neighbor, she discovers a necklace hidden inside its case, with a pendant shaped like the globe of the former Earth, before all the mega-quakes changed the continents. She dons the necklace, and ends up traveling back to 18th century Scotland, where she saves the nearby laird's young baby from a wolf, and ends up being temporarily adopted into the clan. An old lady she encounters tells her she is a time sneak and gives her a very important task to fulfill. Kally quickly learns to adjust to life in the 18th century, which has living in a restricted future beat by a margin, and makes close friends with the Laird Duncan's older son, Ian. Just when she is about to accomplish her mission, she gets sent forward to her own time again. On her seventeenth birthday, Kally goes back to Scotland and encounters a sixteen-year-old Mac, the baby she once saved, and falls in love with him. Can Kally make promises of forever with Mac while her mother waits alone in the far future and when she doesn't even understand how time sneaking works in the first place?
Sneaks takes the idea of time travel and gives us a young, appealing heroine to go along with for the ride. I enjoyed the view of 18th century Scotland, and reading about Kally adjusting to living there. She's a fun, good-hearted girl that it's easy to root for. Kally cares about others, even when it makes her life more difficult. The social dynamics of a teen living in a restrictive future society spoke to me. Most teens in the current day society take it for granted that they can choose their own spouse, can date whomever they desire, and pick any profession that holds their appeal; and more importantly, have access to good quality food and water and live in a clean environment. One would assume that a futuristic teen going back to pre-modern Scotland would be miserable and unhappy, but instead, Kally loves it. That was an interesting change when it comes to a time travel story.
Additionally, this story has an advantage merely for its novel theme in a genre that seems focused more on forbidden romance with bad boys of supernatural origins and the obligatory love triangle. I enjoyed the fact that B. Button took her young adult story in a different direction, and still gave this reader a satisfying romance to enjoy. As a person who loves books set in historical Scotland, I enjoyed those details. They felt authentic, without being tedious or like a pedantic history lesson. I have the feeling that a young female reader will appreciate the historical touches, including hunky young warriors in kilts.
As a novella, this story doesn't have the intricate feel of a longer fiction novel. However, for what's there, it's a good, well-written story that involved me. The appeal of reading about a young woman who finds out what she wants in life, and her potential as an individual is undeniable, with a deep identification factor for most women and girls. She has to balance the love for her mother with a newfound romantic love, knowing that each are important to her life, and she gets a chance to stretch her wings in a new world without the restrictions of her old, albeit future, one. I definitely enjoyed reading about Kally's journey of love and self-discovery in Sneaks. I think this book would appeal to younger readers and older readers who enjoy young adult fiction.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
*Reviewed by guest reviewer, Danielle Hill.
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