The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains by Rodney Jones
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Historical, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (251 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
What would it take to convince you that the woods you just left is a hundred and forty-four years distant from the one you entered?
Ten years have passed since the Civil War broke up John Bartley’s family. Living with his aunt and uncle in the tiny village of Greendale, Vermont, isn’t filled with excitement for a seventeen-year-old.
Until John walks into the woods one day and stumbles into 2009…
Fortunately, he chances upon the outspoken Tess McKinnon. To earn her trust, he must first convince her that he is neither a lunatic nor a liar. The proof he needs is buried at the end of a mountain road, where the ruins of Greendale lie just beneath a layer of dead leaves and moss.
What became of his home? Why is there no record of its existence?
Sometimes you choose an adventure, and sometimes the adventure chooses you.
As soon as I read the premise of this novel, I knew I had to find out what happens next. Time travel is such a fascinating concept, and it’s even more intriguing when the protagonist does it accidentally. I liked seeing John go through his daily routines for a little while before he was suddenly jerked out of them. It developed his personality as well as helped me feel empathy for how disoriented he felt by the world he stumbled into.
John’s wide-eyed response to everything that has changed between his time and our own was quite funny. I was confused by his use of the English language, though, as there weren’t that many differences between the way he speaks and how Tess would phrase the same question or statement. Other than not understanding common words like car or cell phone, his speech patterns were almost indistinguishable from modern English. I briefly wondered if this was a side effect of the time travel, but my theory was never confirmed or denied.
There is still so much about these characters and the worlds they live in that has yet to be explored. From what I understand, there is a sequel to this book in the works. While I was satisfied with how this particular tale ended, I’d love to find out what happens to John and Tess next.
I’d recommend The Sun, the Moon, and Maybe the Trains to adult and young adult readers alike. This book has a little something for everyone!