Once Was a Time by Leila Sales -- Charlotte Bromley believes in time travel, and so does her best friend Kitty. After all, Charlotte's father is a scientist, and the British government has recruited him to do secret research on the subject to aid the war effort. Charlotte's father believes that portals sometimes appear, seemingly at random, and nobody can know where or when one might end up if one were to enter such a portal. Charlotte doesn't think she would enter one, even if she were to see it, but Kitty thinks it would be a great adventure. However, when the two girls' lives are suddenly in danger, it is Charlotte who slips through the portal that miraculously appears, leaving Kitty behind. Where will Charlotte end up -- and will she ever be able to return to her own time?
I really liked this book in spite of a few flaws.
The dialogue and characterization are extremely strong, and the story is
engaging. While reading, I had a nagging feeling that the plot relied
too much upon coincidences, though the ending wrapped up at least some
of them. I also felt that Charlotte was allowed to do some things she
would not have been able to do in the real world, things not related to
the science fiction aspects of the story. Still, I would recommend this,
especially to those who enjoyed When You Reach Me.
I did not intend to read two time travel stories back to back -- it just worked out that way!
(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)