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A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  85 reviews
He believes in science, but only magic can help his mom.

Twelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. Finn clings to the concrete facts in his physics books―and to his best friend, Gabi―to ward off his sadness. But th
Published 2019 by Carolrhoda Books
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Nicole Valentine Yes, I would say it's the perfect introduction to sci-fi for upper middle grade readers. If you are looking for more please see the authors on steamg.…moreYes, I would say it's the perfect introduction to sci-fi for upper middle grade readers. If you are looking for more please see the authors on

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Average rating 4.31  · 
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Erin Kelly
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down. Well-plotted, great pacing, fantastic characters. A must for readers who love time travel stories.
Martha Bullen
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was young, I spent countless hours reading my way through the children's fantasy and imaginative fiction section in my local library. I lost myself in books by Edward Eager and E. Nesbit, and went adventuring with Mary Poppins and Dr. Doolittle. I only wish I could have read A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity at that time — it's exactly the kind of book I craved as a young reader — but I'm fortunate to have discovered it now.

I immediately connected with Finn and his delightful friend
Chris Tebbetts
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favorite books and stories are the ones that bring story, character, and language to the table in equal measure. This mind-bending middle grade novel does exactly that. Even when I was scratching my head at the Mobius strip that is the (il)logic of time travel itself, I was loving the way Nicole Valentine handled such a complex topic in such an accessible way. Highly recommended.
It is just before Finn's 13th birthday, and everyone in his family seem to disappear. His twin sister when they were 3. His mother 3 weeks ago. Even his friendship with Gabi seems to ne ending. Finn is unhappy, clinging to the hard facts of s since and math. Suddenly, after his dad drops him off with his grandmother who tells him a deep family secret: the women in the family are time travellers, and his mom is trapped somewhere in time. There are enemies, and Finn with his friend Gabi, set out t ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story so much! It is full of hope and friendship. I love the family dynamics—their layers and richness. I was deeply touched by the protagonist’s (Finn’s) discovery of self—how well Valentine shows us the workings of the human heart and brain as we grapple with wanting to be loved and wondering if we are worthy. The author does a remarkable job of showing us how the stories we tell ourselves in our heads are seldom the true stories. The true stories are multi-layered and complex a ...more
M.L. Little
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
@kidlitexchange #partner: A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity by @nicolevalentine and Carolrhoda books. Releases October 2019.
This book reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time, but reversed. Instead of a girl saving his dad, a boy saves his mom...and his sister, and his friend, and himself. Really nothing is as it seems in this book and the plot twists came out of nowhere, keeping me reading.
Finn (who I loved) is an almost-teenaged boy living in the shadow of his twin sister, Faith, who trag
Rich Zahradnik
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a bit obsessed with time travel stories, going all the way back to "Danny Dunn, Time Traveler" in the fourth grade. There are many far better, and I must add Nicole Valentine's "A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity" to the list. I could not stop reading. Like other great novels in the genre, Valentine's book deals with family, memory, loss—and the chance of redemption. Twelve-year-old Finn's twin sister drowned when she was three and his mother disappeared a few months ago. Finn is a scien ...more
First sentence from the prologue: We lie to ourselves when necessary. Some of us are more convincing than others. My family has always been particularly good at it.

First sentence from chapter one: Finnegan Firth slid out of his bedroom window and padded on bare feet across the cold slate patio.

Premise/plot: Finn, our hero, believes that science holds the answers to everything. But he's forced to question and re-question everything he believes to be true after his grandmother's death. For the n
Nora Carpenter
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An extremely likeable protagonist, time travel, and a story full of surprises highlighting our most powerful truth: how we treat others can literally change the world. What more can you ask for in a book? Excellent middle grade read.
I loved this book that was a combo of quantum mechanics/time travel and magic. When I requested it, I was under the impression that it would be a middle school level book and therefore the plot would be fairly simplistic. But I found it to be very well written and crafted and I loved the main character as he slowly grew in understanding of his own role, not just in the world/town but also in his family. He was born a twin and always thought of himself as a "remainder" after his sister died when ...more
Jessica Rinker
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written story that’s also a serious page-turner! I really loved Finn’s journey and my fingers are crossed for a second book and movie!
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
*Thank you to the publisher for a review copy of this. All opinions are my own.

“We lie to ourselves when necessary. Some of us are more convincing than others. My family has always been particularly good at it.” So begins Nicole Valentine’s new middle grade sci-fi/fantasy novel. The words are spoken by an unknown narrator who chimes in frequently throughout the book. This is a story about a by trying to understand his family, about relationships, and about the lies we tell.

Finn is a 12 year old
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this! To be honest, part may have been due to the fact that I too traveled in time, back to the magic of when I was a kid that read and reread A Wrinkle in Time. But also I like this book for itself, for the hurt, yet resilient boy Finn and his fierce friend Gabi. For all the possibilities, and for science and magic coexisting.
Mima Tipper
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I enjoyed the heck out of this book! A fast-paced MG fantasy/thriller about a boy who, after his mother disappears, discovers he comes from a long-line of time-travelers, and must step-up to his part of what becomes a dangerous adventure. Valentine's writing is stellar, the character's are deeply developed, and the science--both real and imagined--is riveting. A truly satisfying read on all counts!
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
SUCH a fun read! I love time travel books and am always looking for more like them. My son and I really enjoyed this book. He was so disappointed when it was over and very much hopes there is a sequel! The pacing was perfect, the writing was wonderful, the characters were well developed, and it was just such a good book all around. This one gave us a lot to think about, too, and I liked it for that as well. So glad I found this gem for us to read!
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story for middle grade readers and older, about magic and love and loss. Characters were wonderful, setting perfect for good fire-side read. If you have a young (or young at heart) reader you're shopping for this season, put this beautiful book on the list.
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful family story and a captivating mix of science and magic. Perfect for upper MG readers. I also love the clever double meaning of the title!
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up)
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
Finn Firth is on the verge of turning 13, and is convinced his father will forget his birthday. Which is troubling to him, but really, it's the least of his troubles. When they were three, his twin sister drowned (and he's always felt this absence, and is sure everyone around him does, too). He's not that close with his father, and his mother left home a few months ago, with no warning and no one has heard from her si
Natasha Sinel
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh how I loved this book! By the end I could not put it down! Finn is such a lovable character, and it's such a warm feeling to watch his character grow and learn throughout. Highly recommend this for children and adults alike. Five stars.
Laura Sibson
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My heart ached for Finn as he navigated the loss of important females in his life. And then my heart raced as I followed Finn and his friend Gabi on their adventure to try to obtain answers (trying really hard not to be spoilery here). I was eager to return to the story when I had to leave it and stayed up late to finish it. I loved the structure of the novel, the setting was evocative and the characters became close to my heart (my heart was apparently very affected by this book). This is a sto ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity" can be read on two levels: it is an entertaining and suspenseful story about solving a mystery and friendship. It is also a way of considering loss and facing grief. Science, magic and love are at the heart of the book. I wish I had this when I was younger. I love it now at age 53, but I really NEEDED it at 9 after my mother died. I recommend it to anyone searching for healing AND anyone who enjoys a good sci-fi story. And buckle have to keep on ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Received from NetGalley
Completed 8/21/19
352 page ebook

This book was soooooo cute. I love time travel books, so I was really interested in it when it came up in NetGally. I enjoy engaging Middle Grade books, which this was.

Finn was a great character, very likable from start. The time travel was interesting and unique, not a method seen a lot, which was nice. The book was predictable but maybe not so much for the intended audience. Still, great characters and a cute story made this a great book to
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
A fun, mind-bending time-travel story about a boy who discovers his mother and extended family are time travelers. Reminiscent of A Wrinkle in Time, Finn is a twelve-year old who must try to save his mother, who is lost in time, and reverse or change the fate of his twin sister. In the course of doing so, he learns about love, friendship, loss, and fate.
Gemma L. Brook
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Twelve-year-old Finn discovers the mind-boggling fact that his family members are time-travelers, while he deals with the loss of people close to him. His father is distant and his mother inexplicably absent. But his warm, wonderful grandmother and best friend Gabi help him navigate the wonders and terrors of time-travel.

Though I haven’t been a middle-schooler for decades, this book truly touched me. I felt I was with Finn every step of the way, sharing his sorrow, his harrowing adventures, and
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finn comes from a long line of history; history that has been lived over and over again, with some minor changes to the timeline. Finn’s family are Travelers, or at least the women in his family are Travelers. Each girl inherits the ability to travel through time, and each girl is a little bit better, a little more powerful than her mother who passed on the trait. Finn doesn’t know this, however. All he knows is that his twin sister is dead and he feels guilty about it. She died in a drowning ac ...more
Leslie Dudt
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity", is an excellent book club book that works on many levels in addition to being a quick, suspenseful and entertaining read. I was captured by the action-packed plot, loved the real science combined with a bit of magic, the depth of the characters, the author's writing style and the themes of friendship, loss and science. I work in a school and was thrilled to see teachers can order a companion guide to include this book in their classrooms and curriculums. ...more
C. S.
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of all the middle grade books I’ve read lately, I think this is one of the best.

Time travel, mystery, great writing... but it also has such a lot of heart. Finn is such an excellent protagonist, with his doubts and insecurities and his loyalty and love.

While I felt like the pacing sometimes got bogged down, the cool worldbuilding and the great character relationships more than made up for it.
Aileen (Allie) Barton
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an incredible book! Readers who loved A Wrinkle in Time will devour this book. The author does a great job developing characters and pacing the storyline. I also love the theme of blending magic and science.
Would love to read again to trace all the clues she gives to the end. Definitely one of my favorite middle grade reads I have read recently!
Theresa Grissom
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book.

I really enjoyed this book and I think kids will like it as well. It's one of those books that makes my brain hurt but in a good way. Reading about time travel does that to me. Great characters and underlying themes in this one.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a magical adventure for young and old alike. The reader is taken on a journey where science and magic, love and family and mystery and adventure all wonderfully intertwine along time and space. This book is worth reading and rereading!
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Nicole Valentine is a children’s book author, educator and technologist. She has an MFA in Writing from VCFA and teaches writing at The Highlights Foundation. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her family and two dogs Merlin and Arthur, and two cats, Pickwick and Tink. One day she would like to add a falcon or hawk to the mix.

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