19. Prisoner of Time – Caroline B. Cooney
When I started this book nearly a year ago, I was sitting in the depressingly low lit semi-basement of O’Hare, waiting to get on the tiny plane that would take me back to Moline, Illinois. There was a woman behind me who was speaking very loudly on her phone about how she wasn’t sure if she should be flying into Moline or Cedar Rapids, Iowa in order to allow her son to conveniently pick her up. Her son lives in Davenport. Davenport happens to be across the Mississippi River and a little to the left from Moline, but she clearly did not know the area well (Cedar Rapids is about an hour and a half from Moline) and made sure that everyone around her knew she didn’t know how close she was to the border between Iowa and Illinois. What I don’t get is why her son didn’t make her aware of how close Moline is to Davenport before she even left to visit…perhaps she wasn’t listening or didn’t care at the time. I felt very much like the title of this book was appropriate to how I was feeling listening and waiting to get on the plane. This whole conundrum, and the other helpful people who tried to point out to her that she was very, very close to Davenport in Moline, distracted me from realizing that I was reading a book that’s the fourth in a series. To be fair, it’s perfectly acceptable to stop explaining who everyone is and what’s going on when you get to the fourth book. If you tend to acquire books in a random fashion like I do, well after their publication dates, this can escape you and hinder your ability to get into the story. For the trip I was taking, I chose books based on their size (and all of them were by Caroline B. Cooney, 90s YA is an excellent size for travel).
Prisoner of Time is pretty melodramatic and there are a few logic jumps that just don’t ring true – I’d like to think there’s a process for hosting foreign exchange students that doesn’t involve bringing them home like stray cats and saying, “Hey, Mom, this girl from England’s going to live with us!” as that doesn’t seem organized- but time travel is time travel and sometimes it’s the only thing that will guarantee a progressive girl from the 1890s her independence. Or not, I think she went back, I can’t quite remember – I hope that lady’s son managed to get her across the river into Iowa without incident.