Dutton. May 2021. 240p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525555513.
Gr 9 Up–On June 23, 2020, Earth became trapped in a fold in time, and time stopped. A temporary solution was found as humanity kept keeping artificial time using a website called N3WCLOCK, but high schools across the world continued to task their students to find a permanent solution to the crisis. Tru Becker is one of these students, but she doesn’t think that she is the best person to solve this problem. She has enough problems at home: Her father is obsessed with building boxes around a mysterious switch in the middle of their house, her mother—as far as Tru knows—is in rehab, her brother Richard spends most of his time teaching himself Portuguese, and her sister...well, maybe it’s best Tru not think too much about her sister. But then two things happen that make Tru think she might actually be the perfect person to solve the time issue: She accidentally stops time by taking a nail out of one of her father’s boxes, and she breaks the world record javelin throw at her first track meet. But being the center of attention is the last thing Tru wants. King perfectly captures a feeling of listlessness with this surreal and experimental novel. Highly conceptual with a unique writing style, feelings of isolation are intertwined with explorations of how it feels to connect with another human being. Tru is an interesting and inquisitive main character and acts as the perfect vehicle for readers’ own explorations of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VERDICT Timely and extraordinary, teen readers will find themselves immersed in this timeless world—if they can get past the unfamiliar prose style. Highly recommended.

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