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Darcy Flynn
Flight Time
Darcy Flynn, author
Sixteen-year-old, student pilot, RYLEE DEAN adores her grandfather. She only knows him through her grandmother’s stories, which have led to years of romanticizing the young pilot’s life and tragic loss. When her official solo flight is postponed, she decides to fly her newly restored Cessna, instead—after all, she is the granddaughter of test pilot Jaxon C. Scott. During the process, she notices a strange dial on the instrument panel. Only minutes in the air, the needle on the odd dial begins to spin backward—a flash of blinding light follows, and she wakes up in 1981. Officer JAXON C. SCOTT of the U.S. Air Force has his future all mapped out. The 1980s are looking good. With an exciting career ahead of him, life couldn’t be any better, until a teenage girl shows up on the base. Upon investigation, her arrival proves to be as mysterious as the girl herself. Stranger still, she knows things about him that no one other than family could possibly know. A series of circumstances has the girl staying with him and his mother. But due to the nature of his top-secret work, the timing of her appearance, and her intimate knowledge of his family, he’s convinced she’s hiding something much greater than her identity.
Flynn (Keeper of My Heart), author of several heart-warming romances, takes off for the world of young adult SF in her latest. Sixteen-year-old Rylee Dean is crazy about flying, a love passed down from her grandfather, Jaxon Scott. Not that Rylee’s met him: Jaxon disappeared during a flight before Rylee’s mother was even born, so all she has is her grandmother’s memories of Jaxon as a young man and pilot. At least, that’s all she has before she sneaks the Cessna passed down from grandfather out for a flight, and a mysterious piece of equipment installed in the plane sends Rylee back in time forty years to 1981–and to a young Jaxon. While Rylee is thrilled with the chance to finally meet her grandfather in person, he’s not sure he trusts her, and she runs the risk of altering the timeline in which she was born, if she can even find her way back.

Being a flight enthusiast may be an unusual hobby for most teenagers, but in pretty much every other way Rylee is a typical teenage girl. With a starry-eyed crush, makeover parties, and pulling pranks, this could make her character completely relatable to the target audience of the book. As with many time travel adventures, the science powering Rylee’s journey feels thin, and in this case her ability to keep her secret from most everyone she encounters in 1981 by pretending to be a runaway or orphan can strain credulity.

The book’s heart is in family, though. Rylee quickly charms her own great-grandmother, the Dragon, and the story is strongest when it focuses on the relationships she forms with the people that have the most impact on her future, or recognizes how the strained silence at breakfast between Jax and the Dragon reminds her of meals with her own mother. Any reader can relate to Rylee’s intense desire to meet a cherished family member and discovery of all she’s inherited.

Takeaway: This time-travel adventure is perfect for YA readers who enjoy stories of strong family connections and young women who dare to chase their passions.

Great for fans of: Victoria Maxwell’s Class of 1983, Jamie Rae’s Call Sign Karma, Edith Lavell’s Linda Carlton series.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A