Discussion: Time Between Us – Tamara Ireland Stone

time

Title: Time Between Us[Amazon]
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone[website]
Publisher: Hyperion
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: ARC/Paperback
Reviewed by: Andi & Michelle

Publisher Description:
Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

Discussion:
Michelle: In reading some of your thoughts on Twitter and Goodreads it seems like I may have liked this one better than you.

Anna’s struggle to overcome her introverted and somewhat isolated life to befriend, then ultimately fall in love with Bennett grabbed me from the jump.  Ha ha, get it….jump…  Oh alright, lame.  Anyway, even though the story started a bit slow for me I was not at all disappointed with the progression of Anna and Bennett’s relationship.  Her confusion paired with the desire she felt for him add a definite tension throughout the story.  Add to that the fact that there were the three different secrets that were being revealed over time and I was pretty well hooked.

In fact, the pacing of the reveal of the three secrets did quite a lot to make this story a winner for me.  The onion layer metaphor definitely fits this story as it was so layered both from the plot and character standpoint that I was intrigued to find out what was going to happen next.

Andi: Yah, I wasn’t 100% crazy about this one. It was too much like The Time Traveler’s Wife for me and I really didn’t like that movie (no, I never read the book). I thought the movie was annoying and confusing and contrite and I honestly think that lead to my lukewarm feelings on Time Between Us.

I almost wish I never saw the movie because then I think I would have liked this way more than I did. Sure I thought the pacing was a bit off and slow, with nothing happening until like page 200, but I loved both Anna and Bennett and I loved how their relationship unfolded.

M: I saw that movie (didn’t read the book either) too.  I actually liked it so maybe that is another reason why Time Between Us was a winner for me.  I liked the concept of jumping through time and still attempting to maintain relationships.  There was that difficulty there but still no matter what time and place Bennett jumped to there was this bond between them.  The discovery of why and the exploration of how they could maintain it given the circumstances was enthralling.

A: I did like that part of the story, the reason why they could maintain a bond. That really kept my interest. I was fascinated by how it all worked and I loved how Anna figured it out in the end with Bennett’s help and that she finally started to live for herself. But everything else just fell flat for me and I don’t know why. I can’t pinpoint what I didn’t like the most and why I had no connection to any of it. Maybe I just don’t work with time travel. 🙂

M:  It was interesting how Anna’s independence at the end was what finally brought them together.  It was like Bennett was able to feed off her strength in order to materialize back into her life.  That was a fabulous way to end the story.  Usually I don’t like the ambiguous ending where you’re left to imagine what is going to happen in the future but it really worked here.  I could tell that no matter what they would be in each other’s lives in some capacity.

I did, however, struggle with the idea that Bennett’s family knew of his ability and proceeded to react the way they did.  I guess I think that was a bit unrealistic.  Not so much the father being a con artist and wanting to use it for profit (though even that seemed convenient) but that his mother would allow him to embroil his sister.  I have a hard time believing any parent would be keen on that.

A: OMG yes!! I get that you need to suspend reality in books like this since you know, time travel isn’t possible, but it still needs to be believable. Sure they had to get Bennett to Anna somehow, but the fact that it was because he lost his sister just didn’t really work for me. I didn’t buy it at all.

I also didn’t like Anna and Bennett changing an event to make it easier for Anna and her friends. I totally got why she would want to do it. That I didn’t have an issue with. What I hated was that Bennett did it and they made it into a game. As much as I hate it, things happen for a reason and part of growing up is dealing with them, even the hard stuff. By changing the tiniest of things she took something away from her friends and she had no right to do that. Can you tell that irked me?! HA

M:  LOL! I couldn’t tell at all. 😉

Also, I think that there could have been a bit more exploration of the problems that playing that game really caused.  It was certainly touched on but perhaps a bit more tension between Bennett and Anna.  Or a bit more infusion of how doing so threw things off just like Bennett taking his sister with him did.  There was a lot to this time travel theory that I enjoyed but some of it (mainly the scientific elements) felt unfinished.  Then again this wasn’t a sci-fi story or a book where the main exploration was on that science.  It was a primarily character based story and a good one at that.  That could be another reason why I liked it.  I could suspend the reality of the science because I knew it was more about Bennett and Anna’s emotions and character.

A: And maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much, I just couldn’t separate the two. I had a hard time reconciling the logical part of my brain with the creative part. I just wanted things to make more sense and because it didn’t to me, I lost some of the feel of the romance and the emotion.

M: Understandable, not all books click with all people.  It’s kinda refreshing that there are a few books out there that we don’t agree on.  It’s so rare!

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