The Time Hackers, by Gary Paulsen (2008)

Genre: Science Fiction
Interest Level: 11-15
The Time HackersGary Paulsen is one of my favourite authors for young people. He wrote Hatchet to great acclaim, following up with comic biographical writing (How Angel Peterson Got His Name) and the odd but charming Glass Cafe. With The Time Hackers, he makes a solid hit but it’s no home run. It’s set in a future time when technology permits people to view history as invisible bystanders – they can see the action on their screens but the timeline is not affected; no one in history knows they are being watched. Laptops are rolled up and carry entire curricular texts, but school remains largely the same. Lockers are dangerous for the nerdy, and girls are terrifying to most Grade 7 boys, especially our hero Dorso. (Yes, that’s his name. His sister is Darling – decidedly a misnomer). Dorso and his best friend Frank are forced to become time travelling sleuths when they discover historical events are not just viewable – but deadly. Not only are Dorso and Frank able to view the events; they are on scene and in the path of arrows, bullets, woolly mammoths and more. Somehow the time paradox has been broken, and they are the only two on earth who can prevent the end of the universe. It’s a fun romp, with some delightful writing. But the jokes wear thin to this reader – Darling’s torturing of the cat, Frank’s incessant pursuit of historical images of naked ladies in the bathtub – well, I’m not the intended reader, right! It’s fun, its short (about 80 pages) and it’s a stretch, but it’s a nice introduction to science fiction for young readers. Just don’t judge all of Paulsen’s work by this one.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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