Time School by Nikki Young #BookReview #BlogTour

A power cut and a series of mini disasters means friends, Jess, Nadia, Tomma and Ash barely make it to the station to catch their train to school. What they find is a far cry from the usual packed commuter train they're expecting... When they arrive at Hickley School, the children are surprised to find some of the buildings missing and they don't recognise any of the other pupils, who are all dressed in a different style of uniform. The only person who takes the time to help them is Martha, despite being preoccupied by her own worries about her family being hungry and not hearing from brother, Henry whom she says is away fighting. The children soon realise this is no normal day and it's not until they return home that they're able to figure out what happened. What they don't know is whether it was a one-off day, or if they will get to see Martha and the other pupils again. Jess hopes so. She has something she needs to tell Martha. Not knowing how or why, she feels a connection and an obligation to this girl she can't explain.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Time School by Nikki Young today, many thanks to the author, publishers and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for sending me a copy of the novel.
Time School is a time slip novel written for older children so I read it to my ten year old daughter - and occasional co-reviewer - Maggie. She has written her own review which I'll share below mine.
Exactly how four teenage friends, Jess, Nadia, Tomma and Ash find themselves back in time isn't fully explained during the novel other than it's their usual train to school which becomes the portal that takes them back a hundred years. The hows aren't important though for this is primarily a book which explores some of the differences between the two periods, particularly the responsibilities and worries that young people living through a war had to endure. By featuring contemporary teenagers experiencing some of the highs and lows of the period, the contrast between their lives in 2018 and that of their fellow pupils in 1918 ensures the book is immediately relatable to younger readers. The four protagonists are well developed and clearly defined, each bringing something to the book although it is very much a story centred on Jess and her emotional journey throughout the novel. I believe Time School is to be the first in a series with the following books focusing on the other children in turn. There's enough here to make that an intriguing prospect, the four may be friends but they are all very different and how they each cope with their adventures will be an interesting read. Jess is the least confident of the group and the one most deeply affected by their experiences in this book. Though her natural inclination is to avoid challenging situations, she eventually learns that like the young people from 1918, she too has an inner strength she can call upon.
Though a relatively short book, Nikki Young's eloquent writing brings the period alive and gives readers a vivid glimpse into the trials and tribulations of life on the Home Front during wartime, from the fears for relatives fighting overseas through to the more daily practicalities such as food shortages and children having to take on jobs in their home as their mothers went out to work to fill the roles vacated by the men away at war. The differences between schooling now and then features heavily too and I suspect most young readers will be very glad they don't have to wear the dreadful uniforms and endure the rigid education and strict rules of the past!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Time School to my daughter; it was a pleasure to read aloud and gave us lots to talk about. Though set in a difficult moment in our history, there are some lovely humorous moments too and though I'd more or less worked out the mystery, I thought it was well integrated into the story. There were even a few poignant scenes which brought a tear to my eye - with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice coming up later this year Time School is an important and touching reminder of the sacrifices made for us by our forebears.

Time School is an excellent book, filled with curiosity, bravery and some sneaky humour. The reason this book was absolutely awesome was because it was packed with questions and even some secrets hidden right under your nose. I really enjoyed this story, and it really told me a little more about the First World War. It was clearly a very difficult time for the people at home, waiting for their fathers and brothers to finally come home from the war, and if they never did, they’d all be so devastated. It makes me so so grateful for the sacrifices that soldiers have made for our peace today. I also liked how Jess and Martha were really good friends and bonded more than Ash, Tomma and Nadia did. This is one of the BEST books ever!! I always looked forward to reading this, and I think my mum did too as sometimes we managed to read until 10pm when we started at 9! I rate this five stars as it is BRILLIANT! I think that the fact that there were people from nowadays going right back into the olden days is funny as they got so confused and hated almost everything about it. I could really relate to the four of them which helped me understand more about how different it was back then. Well, amazing job, Nikki Young! I can’t wait to read even MORE of your books!

Time School is published by Matador Books and can be purchased here. Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
Nikki Young is a writer and lover of stories and ‘The Mystery of the Disappearing Underpants’ is her first book. Nikki credits her lively imagination to an amazing childhood, growing up in Yorkshire and living in a cul-de-sac in the days when children were allowed to run free and left to make their own fun! Now a mum of three, she says that in her head, she hasn’t really grown up and those memories of her childhood days remain strong and active.
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