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Andrew Luria
The Adventures of Charlie Marley: Midnight's Moment In Time
Andrew Luria, author

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Charlie Marley changed sports history as we know it. If it weren’t for him, Babe Ruth never would have called his shot and Mary Lou Retton never would have won gold. Plus, Michael Jordan probably wouldn’t be considered “the Michael Jordan” of anything. The Adventures of Charlie Marley: Midnight’s Moment in Time stars this twelve-year-old in an exciting and intergalactic adventure through time, written by Andrew Luria. Charlie and his classmate Emma meet an eccentric inventor, and former big league star, Midnight McLean, in the janitor’s closet of their school, where he was working on a top secret project: the Flogtrac, an intergalactic time travel vehicle. When Midnight asks the two students to help him return to the 1994 World Series and erase the most humiliating ending in the history of baseball—which starred Midnight himself—the two friends barely hesitate. After all, intergalactic uncertainty seems like a reasonable alternative to facing the wrath of their teacher, Mrs. Cooper the Pooper Scooper. But when the inventor’s calculations are a tad. . . off, the three, instead, land at six of the most important moments in sports history, racing against time, trying to outsmart the intergalactic police, the Time Travel Troop, while keeping to the Time Crime Unit’s golden rules. Along the way, they meet Cornelius, a travel troll who helps them navigate their journey. If they can follow the rules of the road and earn their time travel wings before getting caught, Midnight might have his shot at redemption. But one misstep, and the TTT could banish the inventor and his fellow travelers to a galaxy far, far away.

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 10 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 10.00 out of 10


Plot: Twelve-year-old Charlie Marley and his friend, school newspaper reporter Emma Mayfield, hop through time and space on “an adventure that would change their lives…and the history of the world.” Sent to a possibly haunted janitor’s closet to collect dirty erasers, Charlie and Emma encounter Midnight McLean, a washed-up pro baseball player turned inventor whose time machine, aka Flogtrac, is going to take him back to the 1994 World Series for a redo. Intergalactic time travel, however, is not an exact science, at least not Midnight’s version of it, and they end up at Wrigley Field during the 1932 World Series instead. Along the way, the time travelers are instrumental in making sure major events in sports history involving John Elway, Jackie Robinson, and Michael Jordan, to name just a few, turned out the way they should. As readers might imagine in a science fiction/fantasy story, oddities and tricks of fate and time abound.

Prose/Style: Middle-school-age-appropriate structure and vocabulary and fast-paced action make this a easy read for fourth to sixth graders, who will enjoy the descriptions of completely unempathetic adults. Kids will appreciate the depictions of Mrs. Cooper the Pooper Scooper, Coach Stinkysox, Mr. Tubby, and Dr. Dilbert Dinglehop.

Originality: This book showcases a unique premise with an unexpected plot twist near the end.

Character Development/Execution: Myriad unlikely characters inhabit this universe, but Charlie and Emma remain our consistent touchstones.

 Blurb: Andrew Luria, a real-life news and sports anchor, takes Charlie and Emma on a lively jaunt through space and time, and sports milestones, in this wonderfully-illustrated page-turner.

Date Submitted: July 13, 2021