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When the Past Is a Present
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When the Past Is a Present (Amelia Rules! #4)

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4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  359 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Meet Amelia Louise McBride. She's been forced to move out of Manhattan after her parents decided to get divorced, and is now living in a small town (who cares which one) with her mom and her aunt, Tanner. Not to mention the fact that she's dealing with being the new kid in school, many trips to the principal's office, first kisses, etc. But you know what? She's got her fri ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Turtleback Books (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 586)
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Rebecca
Jul 08, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Susan
Oh how I enjoyed this book! This series should go straight into the hands of anyone who says that there are no good comics for kids. Amelia is the spunky heroine of these small-town vignettes, populated with her mom, aunt, and circle of quirky friends. I loved how each story began at the end and circled back, and managed to keep a wonderful balance between wacky (babysitter Mrs. Kadingo, who says things like "the only thing stopping me from marrying Donald Duck was Bing Crosby and his gang of ra ...more
Tim
Aug 21, 2008 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids and the parents who love them
I do adore Amelia...that might be because she Rules!

I can't recommend this highly enough. Parents if your 8-13 year olds love comics, but you are tired of seeing them reading extended {crappy} toy commercials masquerading as story, THIS is for you and THEM.

Boy or girl doesn't matter. Amelia has guys in her group of friends, and her ups and downs are universal. The story does build volume by volume, so you might want to sart with "The Whole World's Crazy" (but the good news is there are four volu
...more
Dolly
Jul 23, 2014 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: older children who enjoy reading graphic novels
This is the fourth book in the Amelia Rules! series by Jimmy Gownley. We recently discovered this series and our girls just love it - they will argue over who gets to read the books first. They are really into reading graphic novels right now and we all love that it features a strong female main character who has other strong women in her life.

The book is broken up into five short stories that are consecutive in time and show how the friends' relationship develops and changes over time and intr
...more
Terri
Apr 14, 2012 Terri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: intermediate
I must admit... I'm addicted to this series. I started reading them in order to better get into the mind of middle years' students, but I continue reading them because I enjoy them so much.

"When the Past Is a Present" continues Amelia's adventures with her friends, but contains a few very intense pages about a friend's father being deployed overseas with the military. It also touches on how our family history shapes our lives without us ever knowing it.
Nicky
Jul 31, 2015 Nicky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOL.
so much fun!
Danielle
Aug 22, 2016 Danielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any comic readers (maybe skewed younger)
*First read when I was a kid*

This volume returns to some of the back-and-forth from previous stories, but definitely incorporates more serious stuff too, like in the last issue. This one didn't hit me as hard, but the story is still impactful. It's more day to day stuff, more kids being kids, but doesn't lose its heart.

Misc. comments on individual stories:
Funny Story - The parallels between Amelia and her mom and their "dates" are great. It's amusing to see different characters align with each o
...more
Dylan
Apr 25, 2016 Dylan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you think that Mr. Gownley can't hit you hard any more with emotion after the incredibly emotional 3rd volume Superheroes, he hits you again with a take that at the time was timely, but to be honest can be timely at anytime, Amelia's new friend Joan learns her soldier father is being deployed to a war zone for a year. In one of the most emotional stories in the series Gownley makes you think twice about military families and it is an emotional roller coaster.

However all is not emotional ha
...more
Michelle
Amelia is a ten-year-old girl whose parents have divorced. While her mother is getting back into the dating scene, Amelia is also going to her first dance. Then she finds out that her friend’s father, who is in the military, is going to a dangerous country. This causes Amelia to reflect about her own family.

Yikes!! This is my first graphic novel and I have to be brutally honest and admit that I did not enjoy it at all. I found the structure painfully difficult. It took me the first dozen pages o
...more
orangerful
The Amelia Rules! series is probably the best kids comic I've seen on our library's bookshelf, especially if you're a 10 year old girl. Amelia McBride is smart, sassy, but still normal and down-to-Earth. In a market where everything for girls is pink or focused on being a "Bratz" kind of kid, Amelia still runs around outside with her friends.

One of the best things about this series is that it works on two levels. A child will enjoy Amelia's point of view and her story while parents will get her
...more
Allison
Jan 17, 2016 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic, tween
The fourth book in the Amelia Rules! series. I requested the next few from the library because I’m not ready to be done with Amelia yet! I’ve given each book four out of five stars even though I really enjoyed them. Something’s kept me from falling in love with the books - maybe the superhero/ninja aspect, because I’m not really into that? Or the random asides when Reggie explains a term with a made-up definition. Sometimes they’re funny, but I usually just skim those sections because they can r ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
I mean, she really does. Rule I mean. If I were ten again I would want to live in Amelia’s neighborhood. I’d want Amelia to be my friend. She isn’t perfect, but she’s authentic. That means she’s not fake. She doesn’t lie or talk behind your back. She says what she means…even if she might have to apologize later. She’s got your back and you’d cover hers too.

Amelia’s comic book world is probably a lot like yours. Parents get divorced, kids go to school, play sports, go to dances at school, have to
...more
Raina
This is the one that made me cry. The sequence on pg.s 113-117 is just heartbreaking, even out of context. Specially since many of us have mixed emotions about the military. Gownley does a pretty amazing job of not being political even dancing around those issues. But it's not political from a kid's perspective.

One thing I haven't mentioned in my reviews of this series yet is the awesome way Gownley handles history/flashbacks. He does an amazing job of mimicking the illustration style, tone, and
...more
Saviourofmusic
Feb 17, 2013 Saviourofmusic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I started reading these when I was 13 and I still love them. They remind me of being a little kid again and are funny while have serious messages. Amelia is a great character: she's precocious and really a bit of a smart-Alec, but understanding and sensitive. Tanner is like a rockstar Yoda in a belly-showing shirt. Amelia's friends are unique and funny in every way. Her parents are kind and nurturing, without being totally perfect. These books charming and heartwarming, with beautiful artwork. I ...more
Ashley
Jan 04, 2013 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book Amelia gets invited to her first dance (with a boy no less), but she's not the only one getting a date, Amelia's mom is seeing someone too. Perhaps Reggie (a.k.a. Captain Amazing) can look into the situation. But it's not all fun for the 10 year old spitfire. A good friend reveals that her father will be sent to a dangerous country with his job in the military which gets Amelia thinking about her own family, her past, and what it means for the present.
Carolyn
Mar 14, 2016 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series continues to be one of my favorites- it's touching, fun and funny, and I really enjoy the art. This volume centered a lot around family and the importance family plays in each of our lives (including friends, or as I like to refer to them, chosen family). Again, I really enjoy that there are "grown up" topics but nothing is overly simplified simply because the target audience is younger readers.
Erica
Jul 10, 2010 Erica rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
Amelia is 10. Maybe because this is book 4 and not book 1, but the stories are too jumpy and do not flow easily at all. Amelia lives with her divorced mom, and she is close to her aunt Tanner, who is a musician. She has a cadre of friends, both boys and girls who have crushed on each other, but I am too annoyed with the jumpy stories to figure out who likes whom. Maybe a 10-year old girl who is a little ADHD will like this book.
jacky
I felt the first couple volumes were needed to build up to the more complex material in this one. Deeper conflicts that remain appropriate to the characters' ages as well as more complex layouts. I'd encourage students to jump right to this point, but the other volumes are needed to understand Amelia's world (about a dozen characters and past storylines).
Molly
Aug 25, 2009 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful Amelia book. I love how funny and quirky this Graphic Novel can be and then how it can really reach your heart. This one still talks about Amelia dealing with her parents divorce but it also talks about a child whose father goes to war. This is a great book for a kid who is in this situation. Grades 4+
Kathy Ellen Davis
Jan 06, 2013 Kathy Ellen Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I liked the stories in here a lot.
Sometimes the art was a little too much or all over the place.
but overall, really great.
Nice characters.
Love the secret identities of some of the kids too!

Haiku Review:
Amelia grows up
goes on a date! and finds out
her family stuff.

Sarah
*swoon* Just when I think that this series cannot get any better, I pick up volume 4 and I'm blown away yet again. This may be the best graphic novel for children ever. And I'm reading it as an adult and enjoying the heck out of it. I can't wait to read them again with my kids.
Beck
So incredibly impressed with the storytelling (art and words) in this series. They just get sharper with each volume. I may even have blinked back tears reading one segment at Panera. Gownley also does this just brilliant thing with panels weaving knowledge together....Fantastic.
Emily
Nov 13, 2008 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really enjoy Amelia. This fourth book doesn't disapoint. The graphic presentation is so quick and smart with hints of parody and satire. A variety of important issues are covered in an age approriate way without sugary sweetness and it seems realistic in an uncynical way.
Jeff Raymond
Not quite as solid as the previous volume, but that's setting the bar absurdly high. I'm glad I had bought these for my library way back, because I'm trying to figure out a better comic book for kids at this point and having a lot of trouble.
Chris Hays
Sep 16, 2013 Chris Hays rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, teaching
Excellent graphic novel for children. Witty and a little against the 'adults', Amelia is out to challenge beliefs of right and wrong. I look forward to reading some more of this series.
J.D. Holman
More adventures of Amelia and her friends. The story about Joan, her friend whose father is in the Army and is going overseas for a year, is particularly poignant.
Jenn Estepp
I've been enjoying myself as I read through all the Amelia Rules collection, but this is the one that made me cry.
Rebecca
Jul 30, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the developing cast of characters and the friendships (and enemy-ships) that really begin to build.
John
Aug 18, 2008 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amelia ends up exploring her family history but told with attitude and humor.
Mary Rice
I liked the third one the best. But this one was okay.
Erin
Sep 18, 2012 Erin marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
GN FIC GOW; Graphic Novel; Humour; Family; Sept.18/12
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Jimmy Gownley is the author and illustrator of the Amelia Rules! series of graphic novels, as well as the memoir The Dumbest Idea Ever!.

He has been nominated for 13 Eisner awards and 6 Harvey awards. His book Superheroes won the 2006 Cybil Award for best graphic novel for kids 12 and under.

He lives in Pennsylvania.
More about Jimmy Gownley...

Other Books in the Series

Amelia Rules! (8 books)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 1: The Whole World's Crazy (Amelia Rules! #1)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 2: What Makes You Happy (Amelia Rules! #2)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 3: Superheroes (Amelia Rules! #3)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 5: The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular (Amelia Rules! #5)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 6: True Things Adults Don't Want Kids to Know (Amelia Rules! #6)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 7: The Meaning of Life... and Other Stuff (Amelia Rules! #7)
  • Amelia Rules! Volume 8: Her Permanent Record (Amelia Rules! #8)

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