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Once Was a Time

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,032 ratings  ·  256 reviews
In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to anoth ...more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,032 ratings  ·  256 reviews

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An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

Charlotte Bromley's scientist father has been working on creating a theory that time traveling can exist. So when he doesn't come home one day, and her and her very best friend Kitty gets kidnapped by the Nazis, she has to make the very hard decision to stay or leave. This one decision changes her life, and with it, her ideal place called home.

Charlotte is still very
3.5 stars. Not bothered with the mechanics of time travel, this is about the grief suffered by main character Charlotte "Lottie" Bromley who travels from 1940 England to 2013 Wisconsin and loses touch with all her family, her best friend Kitty, and everything that was familiar. Lottie's forced to make a new life in the US; she's lost, feeling guilty for abandoning Kitty, and tried to remake herself in her new world, falling in with a group of mean girls at school, and takes comfort in a friends ...more
Lottie Bromley and Kitty McLaughlinare are 10 years old, live in Bristol in 1940, and are best friends for ever. Lottie's father is a promising scientist working very hard to understand how time travel works. His research is specially important at this moment, since time travel could be such an important weapon during the war. And of course it can be dangerous too. Kitty, Lottie and her father confirm this when they are kidnapped by Nazi officers who are sure Mr. Bromley has revealed time travel ...more
Once Was a Time wasn't quite what I expected it to be. But that didn't deter me from finding it enjoyable! I thought it was pretty good, particularly for the target age group. And I like that it surprised me too! ...more
Martha Pasatiempo
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've loved Leila Sales's work since coming across This Song Will Save Your Life several years ago, so I was thrilled when I heard that she was branching out into middle-grade fiction.

In Once Was a Time, Sales introduces us to Charlotte "Lottie" Bromley and Kitty McLaughlin, two best friends growing up in 1940. Against a backdrop of rationing, war and anti-German sentiment, Lottie is grappling with the idea that her father has done the impossible and figured out the secret to time-traveling.

Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
I'm overjoyed to have a daughter who is also a reader. My oldest child, who is 10, reads several books a day some days and often comes to be and tells me, "Mommy, this book was so good. You have to read it!" Sadly, Mommy is a much slower reader and doesn't make time for reading the way she could, so I don't always get around to my daughter's recommendations.

The other night I found my child in bed, sobbing quietly. I asked her what was wrong. "It's okay," she assured me. "It's just this book I fi
Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

I was drawn to this book first by the whimsical cover, and then by the description of time travel and a friendship that stands the test of distance and time. I was not disappointed!

Charlotte and Kitty are best friends, living in war-torn England in 1940. In a terrifying turn of events, Charlotte narrowly escapes a tragic fate by traveling forward in time to the year 2013. But now what? What happened to her
Mar 07, 2015 marked it as to-read
I need this ASAP. Or I might die. It's a fact. LeilaSalesWithdrawalItis < that's legit, right? ...more
*An ARC was provided by Raincoast Canada in exchange for a honest review.*

*Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

A middle-grade story about time-travel: that was literally all I needed to know about Once Was A Time to know that I had to read it. I've always loved middle-grade reads once and awhile, especially after a heavy book and/or an especially emotional one so the timing was definitely perfect to start this! Many of you are aware of how much of a big fan of time-travel I am, so i was especially
Ms. Yingling
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Copy received from the publisher

Lottie is growing up in England at the start of World War II. Her father is a scientist who is working for the government and thinks that he can unravel the secret of time travel. Lottie spends a lot of time with her friend Kitty, and the two are together when enemy agents kidnap Lottie and her father in order to get secrets out of him. Things look dire, and when Lottie sees a shimmering portal open, she dives through it, leaving Kitty and her father behind. She e
Angela Germany
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading “Once Was a Time” just the other night. I read a lot of books and hands down, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is days later and I keep thinking about the book and the plot. I wish the cover was a little more inviting but NEVER judge a book by the cover. The book takes place in 1940 and also 2013. Lottie starts off as a 10 year old in the beginning of the book and is a 13 yr old for the second half of the book. While I absolutely agree with the School ...more
Alexa Hamilton
I am working really hard to review the right version of this book because I truly loved it. The easiest way to pitch it to anyone is to compare it to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead because it beautifully shows love, loneliness, friendship and time travel. I may be a sci-fi geek but this book is for all the little girls and boys who like to read about readers, or thrilling situations that cause your life to change, or why you might be friends with a group of girls who are mean. There are so m ...more
Cadence McDowell
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved Once Was a Time and was kind of surprised that I did. It started out in like the 1940's which was a big turn off because I'm not a huge historical fiction fan. I gave it a try anyway and I'm glad that I did. It had a lot of ups and downs and a great storyline. The story of Lottie and Kitty will forever be great. ...more
Once Was A Time by Leila Sales is quite a special read that I ABSOLUTELY recommend to middle graders and fans of time travel books and historical fiction. Read my review here ...more
Maria Caplin
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I never read time travel books. This story grabbed me and I had to find out what happened to Kitty and Lottie. The historic settings were years apart and captivated me. A must read for 2016 Newberry Club. Thanks Bill for the recommendation.
Prince William Public Libraries
This story was very interesting, the friendship of 2 girls lasts a lifetime and how both of them travel far and look for clues to find each other. I love how this story combines the concept of the past, present, and future. I was on an emotional journey the whole time, like for example I was yelling, screaming excitingly, crying, because of the book… My family members had to come and check on me t see what was going one. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, it will remain one of my favorit ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. It's a nice little story about friendship and determination with some time travel and history thrown in. Although I am much older than the characters in this book, it transport me back to my middle school days. Would definitely recommend it to middle graders. ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel, ya
*cries happily over friendship that stretches across time*
Matt Gortner
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: msba
I thought the book handled the concept of time travel very well, and pulled the plot together in a way that made you go ahh. I like how she had to adapt to her her new environment.
Lisa Simmons
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Jahnavigouri Panicker
I found this book somewhat not as good as I thought it to be . The first section was interesting after that I found it not that nice. I don't honestly liked the main character also . I found this book really confusing and sad . I don't found this book the right book for me that is it. Maybe some people may like it .
I felt it an annoying read. Literally I don't want to give any negative feedback. Because I always respect the hardworkand dedication behind every published book . However I genuinely
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!

I adore Lelia Sales' writing, though last year I admit my disappoint when it came to Tonight the Streets Are Ours. However, when I heard she was writing a middle grade novel, I had high hopes, and even higher expectations. I loved this book! In fact, I loved it so much I read it in a day.

This is a novel about time travel and friendship. More particularly can a friendship transcend through time and still survive. When Lottie jumps through a portal during

I was two seconds away from DNFing this because it starts off insanely boring. I'm new to Leila Sales. I've had Tonight The Streets Are Ours on my wishlist for eight years now, so I'd have to consider her middle-grade debut mediocre.

It's the year 1940. England is torn apart by war. Charlotte Bromley and Catherine "Kitty" McLaughlin are best friends. Charlotte's father is a scientist, investigating the theory of time travel. After being confronted and kidnapped by a suspicious group, Charlo
Apr 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. (Thanks, LibraryThing!)

Once Was A Time begins with Lottie and Kitty, best friends who live in war torn England in 1940. Lottie's father is scientist researching time travel and certain people would do anything to get their hands on his research. Lottie and Kitty are kidnapped in an attempt to persuade Lottie's father to share his research. Right as things go from bad to worse, a portal appears in front of Lottie, she makes
Carly [A Beauty & Her Books]
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, already-own
Thank you to Raincoast Publishing for sending me this ARC novel is exchange for an honest review.

This book is targeted towards children in grade school, about ages 9-13. It is not about a sappy romance, but instead about friendship and the hardships that some come across.

Starting with the cover art, it represents the subject of the book perfectly. The two girls on the cover, Lottie and Kitty, are presented in the time periods in which they are trapped. The decades that are shown in the lettering
This definitely had a few issues, especially concerning what would have happened realistically in some of the situations, but but but I actually really ended up enjoying it. The story took a surprising and not unwelcome turn and I loved how the story played out, as bittersweet as it was.

Some of the things I scoffed a bit at were that

(view spoiler)
Chelsea Couillard-Smith
A lovely tribute to female friendship, with a time-travel twist. I enjoyed the way Sales balances the time-travel aspect with what is really a book about female relationships and about friendship more generally - what it means to be a friend, how relationships change, the ways that children hurt each other. Many of the characters are a bit one-note, including the foster parents and the mean girl characters, but Charlotte is wonderfully realistic and richly portrayed, particularly in the way she ...more
Susan  Dunn
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Charlotte and her best friend Kitty have know each other since they were babies. At ten years old they are still as thick as thieves. The are also both fascinated with Charlotte’s father’s work investigating time travel. He is convinced that traveling through time is a possibility - and that time portals exist and can occasionally be seen. The problem is though, that once you go through a time portal you don’t know where you’re going to end up - and you can never come back to the exact place and ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once Was a Time by [Sales, Leila]In 1940 Charlotte Bromley and Kitty McLaughlin are best friends. When Charlotte's father, a scientist, discovers something that the Germans will want, Charlotte has to make a hard decision. Should she stay with Kitty or travel somewhere in time and place. Her decision leaves her alone in the world. She does not know what happens with Kitty. She knows she has to find a way to return to her friend.

This book is written for children in grades 4-6. I believe, although
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Leila Sales was born in 1984 and grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in psychology in 2006. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children's book publishing. Leila spends most of her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write.

***Please note that

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