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Once Was a Time

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In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to anoth In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.


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In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to anoth In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

30 review for Once Was a Time

  1. 4 out of 5

    Giselle

    An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change. Charlotte Bromley's scientist father has been working on creating a theory that time traveling can exist. So when he doesn't come home one day, and her and her very best friend Kitty gets kidnapped by the Nazis, she has to make the very hard decision to stay or leave. This one decision changes her life, and with it, her ideal place called home. Charlotte is still very An Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change. Charlotte Bromley's scientist father has been working on creating a theory that time traveling can exist. So when he doesn't come home one day, and her and her very best friend Kitty gets kidnapped by the Nazis, she has to make the very hard decision to stay or leave. This one decision changes her life, and with it, her ideal place called home. Charlotte is still very young, and it was quite disturbing to see how the "mean girl" route between tweens emerged. I couldn't even imagine having this type of friend back when I was in school, but lo-and-behold, I'm sure it was always around and I was lucky enough to stay away from it. Girls are mean, and Charlotte gets in with the popular crowd. I'm glad that she ends up realizing the truth though. One thing I loved about this was that it felt like an adventure. One where our main character gets to figure out how to fend for herself even if she is still a child. I was remarkably pleased that she had the determination to find her best friend. And sure she had a minor set-back, but her friend Jake helped her when she needed it the most. I loved how quick the story went. Maybe it went too quickly because before I knew it, I was finished. I loved reading the ending, and it made me tear up a bit. SO sweet. I love books about friendship, and this one is definitely one to read! Leila Sales sure knows how to tug at your heart-strings! RATING 3/5 QUOTES "When something seems like an unbelievable coincidence, then consider that it might not be a coincidence." (5) "I liked my adventures to stay where they belonged: in books, where I could shut the cover on them any time I wanted." (9) "What do you do when you learn, without a doubt, that you've lost everyone you love and you're trapped by time forever?" (87) "Since the people who most need a library are the ones who can't pay for it; the people who need our free internet and computers and reference materials and a quiet place to sit because they can't afford to buy any of that for themselves." (175) "When somebody leaves, they leave you. Even if you're not the reason why they leave, you're still the one left behind." (177) "But I just keep telling myself that maybe this adventure needs to come to an end so that a new adventure can begin." (221) "Because this isn't just a question about who you hang out with. It's about what kind of person you are." (224) "I just don't get why you have to change who you are in order to get people to like you." (256) "If you pretend to be someone for long enough, then it doesn't even feel like pretending anymore." (296)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    3.5 stars. Not bothered with the mechanics of time travel, this is about the grief suffered by main character Charlotte "Lottie" Bromley who travels from 1940 England to 2013 Wisconsin and loses touch with all her family, her best friend Kitty, and everything that was familiar. Lottie's forced to make a new life in the US; she's lost, feeling guilty for abandoning Kitty, and tried to remake herself in her new world, falling in with a group of mean girls at school, and takes comfort in a friends 3.5 stars. Not bothered with the mechanics of time travel, this is about the grief suffered by main character Charlotte "Lottie" Bromley who travels from 1940 England to 2013 Wisconsin and loses touch with all her family, her best friend Kitty, and everything that was familiar. Lottie's forced to make a new life in the US; she's lost, feeling guilty for abandoning Kitty, and tried to remake herself in her new world, falling in with a group of mean girls at school, and takes comfort in a friendship with the local librarian and all the new stories there. Then she comes across something that totally throws everything she believed upside down. The prose is a little flat, for all its interesting story material. I felt a little removed from Lottie and her feelings for much of the story, though that changed past the halfway point, when Lottie began taking control of her life after the big surprise. This was an enjoyable story of a girl thrown into a really tough situation, and watching her cope and mature was a pleasure, as well as how strong, caring and central to the story the author made the girls' friendship.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Lottie Bromley and Kitty McLaughlinare are 10 years old, live in Bristol in 1940, and are best friends for ever. Lottie's father is a promising scientist working very hard to understand how time travel works. His research is specially important at this moment, since time travel could be such an important weapon during the war. And of course it can be dangerous too. Kitty, Lottie and her father confirm this when they are kidnapped by Nazi officers who are sure Mr. Bromley has revealed time travel Lottie Bromley and Kitty McLaughlinare are 10 years old, live in Bristol in 1940, and are best friends for ever. Lottie's father is a promising scientist working very hard to understand how time travel works. His research is specially important at this moment, since time travel could be such an important weapon during the war. And of course it can be dangerous too. Kitty, Lottie and her father confirm this when they are kidnapped by Nazi officers who are sure Mr. Bromley has revealed time travel's secret. Just when Lottie and Kitty are going to be shot by the Nazi officers, something absolutely incredible happens, Lottie sees a portal. She knows she is the only one who noticed it, and she has to decide what to do. There's not enough time to take Kitty with her. Lottie decides to go trough the portal, and ends in Sutton, Wisconsin, 2013. A new huge challenge begins for her. She has to adapt to a new life, accept the idea she has lost her family and friends for ever, and live with the guilt of have left her best friend behind. She knows all of these are the consequences of her decision of going through the portal, but there's only one thing she is not going to give up. She will find Kitty. This plan is brought to a completely new level when a card from Kitty reaches Lottie's hands. She will find her friend even if that means travel to a different time and place. This story has action and heart warming moments. Although time travel is a component, it is not the most important of them. That's the reason I'm not labeling it as science fiction. I think the author uses time travel as an excuse to tell a beautiful story about friendship, perseverance and the difficulties of adapt to a new situation after a life changing event. The characters are well traced, and both, Lottie and Kitty, are really easy to relate with. The plot is smartly weaved. Along the book I found many thing that look like inconsistencies, but everything comes to place at the end. And talking about the end, it deserves its own paragraph. I would say it is a happy end, but the bittersweet-happy ending type. They exist. Believe me. :) It's a hard task to explain this without giving away spoilers. Let's say it is not the "everything-is-perfect-now" type of ending, but it's a consistent and surprising end, which makes perfect sense with the whole story. In the overall a great middle grade novel. It's my first book by this author. I know her previous novels are YA, so probably won't read them (I'm a bad YA reader, sorry), but I'd be interested in future middle grade novels by Sales. And again, don't let the time travel stuff prevent you form picking this story. It's not a science fiction book. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Find more children's book reviews in Reviews in Chalk

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    Once Was a Time wasn't quite what I expected it to be. But that didn't deter me from finding it enjoyable! I thought it was pretty good, particularly for the target age group. And I like that it surprised me too! Once Was a Time wasn't quite what I expected it to be. But that didn't deter me from finding it enjoyable! I thought it was pretty good, particularly for the target age group. And I like that it surprised me too!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Celeste_pewter

    I've loved Leila Sales's work since coming across This Song Will Save Your Life several years ago, so I was thrilled when I heard that she was branching out into middle-grade fiction. In Once Was a Time, Sales introduces us to Charlotte "Lottie" Bromley and Kitty McLaughlin, two best friends growing up in 1940. Against a backdrop of rationing, war and anti-German sentiment, Lottie is grappling with the idea that her father has done the impossible and figured out the secret to time-traveling. How I've loved Leila Sales's work since coming across This Song Will Save Your Life several years ago, so I was thrilled when I heard that she was branching out into middle-grade fiction. In Once Was a Time, Sales introduces us to Charlotte "Lottie" Bromley and Kitty McLaughlin, two best friends growing up in 1940. Against a backdrop of rationing, war and anti-German sentiment, Lottie is grappling with the idea that her father has done the impossible and figured out the secret to time-traveling. However, such discoveries come with a price. Lottie and Kitty are kidnapped by German scientists, and Lottie ends up traveling through a portal to 2013. Now, as she tries to adjust to a life she never imagined, she grapples with the memory of the friend she left behind... So, what readers should know from the get-go, is that this despite the description, Once Was a Time isn't strictly a time-travel story. Yes, time-travel acts as the instigator for Lottie's journey into the future. But outside of that one instance of travel, the actual phenomenon of time-travel is more or less never discussed for the remainder of the novel. Does this detract away from the story? Absolutely not. Because as Lottie adjusts to life in 2013 and to the United States to boot, Sales makes it a point to illustrate a thoughtful, occasionally heartbreaking look at just what it takes for one girl to adjust to extraordinary circumstances beyond her control. It isn't just a question of learning new things; it's a question of coming to terms with the idea that everything and everyone she knew is now likely gone, and through no fault of her own. Lottie actually makes it a point to look up her family at one point, and the end result is exactly what one might assume. While one would expect Lottie to grieve, Sales makes it a point to emphasize that pragmatism about the situation, and how she's very much retained the "keep calm and carry on" mentality that many likely had during the war. It's actually refreshing to see just how positive Lottie is about her new life; it's not what she wanted, but darned if she won't try and make the best of it - through new friendships, relationships and more. While her old life eventually comes back to haunt her vís-a-vís a mysterious postcard from Kitty, Sales makes it a point to balance her pursuit of her old life with normal teenaged antics - e.g. an awkward, burgeoning friendship with a not-so-popular fellow student - which serves as a reminder of just far Lottie has come, and also a nice reminder of how normal and consistent teenagers are in every generation. Though the ending is whimsical and occasionally sad, it's also a perfect end for Lottie's journey. Without giving spoilers away, Sales shows that life really is what you make of it, and Lottie is able to find a new, happy normal in a situation she never anticipated. Bottom line: While Once Was a Time definitely wasn't what I expected, it was a beautiful tale about friendship, family and personal strength. I highly recommend this book for fans of contemporary fiction, and for fans of Leila Sales.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! I was drawn to this book first by the whimsical cover, and then by the description of time travel and a friendship that stands the test of distance and time. I was not disappointed! Charlotte and Kitty are best friends, living in war-torn England in 1940. In a terrifying turn of events, Charlotte narrowly escapes a tragic fate by traveling forward in time to the year 2013. But now what? What happened to her family...to Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! I was drawn to this book first by the whimsical cover, and then by the description of time travel and a friendship that stands the test of distance and time. I was not disappointed! Charlotte and Kitty are best friends, living in war-torn England in 1940. In a terrifying turn of events, Charlotte narrowly escapes a tragic fate by traveling forward in time to the year 2013. But now what? What happened to her family...to Kitty? Can she discover the secrets of time-travel and return to her family, or should she learn to live as a young girl in America in the future? I thoroughly enjoyed this charming story and I couldn't wait to see how it would end. I couldn't help but hold out hope that Charlotte and Kitty would one day be reunited against all odds. I'm looking forward to purchasing a copy of this book for my classroom library because I know my students will love it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I need this ASAP. Or I might die. It's a fact. LeilaSalesWithdrawalItis < that's legit, right? I need this ASAP. Or I might die. It's a fact. LeilaSalesWithdrawalItis < that's legit, right?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Martha Pasatiempo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was amazing. It was short-which made it a super quick read. However, the story was beautifully crafted. It was so refreshing to read a story that was about a friendship, and involved no romance whatsoever. The ending was kinda cheesy, but overall it was really good. Basically, this book is about Charlotte (Known as Lottie) and her friend Catherine (Known as kitty.) It begins in their in England during WWII. Lotttie's dad was a scientist who studied time travel, and her mom left because This book was amazing. It was short-which made it a super quick read. However, the story was beautifully crafted. It was so refreshing to read a story that was about a friendship, and involved no romance whatsoever. The ending was kinda cheesy, but overall it was really good. Basically, this book is about Charlotte (Known as Lottie) and her friend Catherine (Known as kitty.) It begins in their in England during WWII. Lotttie's dad was a scientist who studied time travel, and her mom left because she couldn't stand his secretiveness. Lottie also had an older sister, whom she often argued with and wasn't on very good terms with. Lottie was an avid reader, reading under the dinner table and even taking it as far as to read during school from under her desk. Typical booknerd. Kitty was an only child, and so her parents were all over her. They watched her all the time, so she stayed at Lottie's house most of the time. The two were really good friends, and practiced being 'physic' with each other. She is obssessed with anagrams, and makes them about everything. She also loved swimming, which isn't show until later in the book. The story starts out with these two girls living their day to day lives in England during the war. But then they are kidnapped, and just as they are about to be killed to convince Lottie's dad to tell the kidnappers about time travel, Lottie spots a portal and takes her chance and jumps in it. The portal brings her to America in the year 2013, where she becomes good friends with a librarian and is fostered by foster parents whose only kid is away at college in Hawaii. The rest of the book is about her adapting to America and the new time period, along with the normal stuggles of a 10 year old girl in 5th grade. She becomes part of the popular group, and ends up bullying Jake, the guy who helped her when she first landed in America. Whilst all this is happening, she is also grieving for Kitty who she she thinks she killed because she didn't bring her through the portal. Until she found a post card in a book from her beloved friend, and goes on the hunt to find her. This leads to her going to Jake, and pleading for forgiveness so she can follow him on his trip to Italy, where she believes she can find Kitty. There, the two become good friends and she does eventually find Kitty who is then 86 years old. Lottie and Kitty reunite and Kitty moves back with Lottie, pretending to be her grandmother. Kitty was left in charge with Lottie's dad's job of figuring out time travel, which she did. She was the one who made the portal that saved Lottie's life at the beginning. The novel ends with Kitty on her deathbed with Lottie by her side. It was extremely sweet, and just how the novel should have ended. Now onto my thoughts (sorry if that summary was terrible, I'll get better I swear!) Overall, I loved this book. The plot wasn't too complex, which is probably due to the author not sharing how exactly she percieved time travel to work in the novel. Whilst I feel like that was kind if lazy on the authors side, I think it fit with the story well. You didn't NEED to know how it worked. Just that it did, and it saved Lottie and Kitty's lives. I also loved how the time travel was from the past the the present (kinda). Not even that-but also to a completely different country! It was really interesting to read about Lottie adapting to the modern world, along with the American world with all of our weird customs. The fact that she had a 'normal' life besides being a time traveler was also really interesting. She had to deal with bullying (being the victim AND the bully),what the true meaning of modern friendship was, and just how to be independent and be herself not what others wanted her to be. It was really cool. I loved all of the characters in the book, and the roles they played. There are too many to name them all, but I will name my favorites. Our main character, Lottie, is a huge bookworm which makes reading in her POV so much more fun because its basically like diving into your own head. The librarian she meets is also one of my favorites, despite her scenes being limited. Lottie's parents are the typical teenage parents, which was fun. And the popular girls were a great addition, even if they did make me want to punch their faces inside out. Oh! And Jack. Can't forget Jack. I LOVED him. He is basically a male, non bookish me. He was awesome. Basically the whole book was awesome. I recommend it to anyone who wants a quick what interesting read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Micheline

    *An ARC was provided by Raincoast Canada in exchange for a honest review.* *Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. A middle-grade story about time-travel: that was literally all I needed to know about Once Was A Time to know that I had to read it. I've always loved middle-grade reads once and awhile, especially after a heavy book and/or an especially emotional one so the timing was definitely perfect to start this! Many of you are aware of how much of a big fan of time-travel I am, so i was especially *An ARC was provided by Raincoast Canada in exchange for a honest review.* *Actual rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. A middle-grade story about time-travel: that was literally all I needed to know about Once Was A Time to know that I had to read it. I've always loved middle-grade reads once and awhile, especially after a heavy book and/or an especially emotional one so the timing was definitely perfect to start this! Many of you are aware of how much of a big fan of time-travel I am, so i was especially excited to see what was in store for Charlotte and her best friend Kitty... This isn't a book about time-hoping though, like one might expect (or at least, that was my initial thought) There is only one jump through time but despite that, there is a lot of talk of time travel, as well as dealing with the consequences of traveling through time. Since it's a middle-grade story, I felt there was adequate information here to make it plausible, without feeling as though the concept was being dumbed-down for a younger audience. I really appreciated that because I think it would have been easy to make things overly simple because of the target audience's age. Once Was A Time is a story about an incredible friendship between two young girls, Charlotte and Kitty. It is a truly beautiful friendship that survives many obstacles and tragedies. It warmed my heart to see how Charlotte and Kitty loved each other and how they would do anything for one another. I wish that more YA and adult novels focused on developing friendships like these! It's so much easier to accept characters going to any lengths for their beloved friends than for a boy they just met...but hey, maybe that's just me. I read this book in two sittings but could have easily done so in one, if life hadn't gotten in the way. I adored the references to classic books such as A Little Princess, A Monster Calls, The Book Thief and yes, even Harry Potter ♥ The main character Charlotte was sweet and resilient. The friends she made throughout time were assorted but the most memorable were obviously Kitty - but also Jake and Miss Timms. Once Was A Time was a lovely story about time-travel, love, loss and friendship that stands the test of time, as it were. The ending felt a little bit rushed though and throughout I found myself hoping for more time-travel, but that's just the geek in me taking over. The bottom line: this story is about friendships that last a lifetime. This review was previously featured on my blog:

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Copy received from the publisher Lottie is growing up in England at the start of World War II. Her father is a scientist who is working for the government and thinks that he can unravel the secret of time travel. Lottie spends a lot of time with her friend Kitty, and the two are together when enemy agents kidnap Lottie and her father in order to get secrets out of him. Things look dire, and when Lottie sees a shimmering portal open, she dives through it, leaving Kitty and her father behind. She e Copy received from the publisher Lottie is growing up in England at the start of World War II. Her father is a scientist who is working for the government and thinks that he can unravel the secret of time travel. Lottie spends a lot of time with her friend Kitty, and the two are together when enemy agents kidnap Lottie and her father in order to get secrets out of him. Things look dire, and when Lottie sees a shimmering portal open, she dives through it, leaving Kitty and her father behind. She ends up in modern day America, and is helped by a boy named Jake, who takes her to the library. She sleeps there for a couple of days before being found out by Ms. Timms, the librarian, who hands her over to children's services. Lottie ends up with a very nice couple, Melanie and Keith, who have a grown daughter. They get her settled in and off to school, where she meets Sydney, Dakota, and Kiana, who are all popular girls. They are enthralled by her accent and quaint ways, but think that Jake is a geek and discourage Lottie from talking to him. Oddly enough, the three girls are just the type of students who would have bullied Lottie in her own time, but she sticks with the group in order to have friends with whom to hang out. She finds herself dragged into all manner of activities she would rather not do-- she'd rather hang out at the library with Ms. Timms. After finding a postcard from Kitty in the library copy of Burnett's A Little Princess, Lottie is determined to make her way to Italy to find Kitty. Jake's family happens to be going, so Lottie takes the money she has earned for working at the library for a number of years, begs Melanie and Keith to let her go, and sets out to find her friend, and also to try to uncover the secret of how she time traveled. Strengths: This is a charming book not only about time travel, but about friendship. Lottie's struggles are dealt with realistically, and even her trip to Italy is believable. It is very different from other time travel books I've read, but I can see it being popular with readers who enjoyed Saunders' Beswitched or Farmer's Charlotte Sometimes. I wonder if that's why the main character is named Charlotte? Weaknesses: I can't think of many books where people travel from other times to the present, and it's not the sort of time travel I would prefer to do! What I really think: This book really stuck with me. I enjoyed Lottie's experiences in the modern times more than I thought I would, and was pleased with her quest for Kitty. I think it might be hard to find tween readers for this, however. Time travel books don't circulate well in my library, more's the pity.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angela Germany

    I finished reading “Once Was a Time” just the other night. I read a lot of books and hands down, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is days later and I keep thinking about the book and the plot. I wish the cover was a little more inviting but NEVER judge a book by the cover. The book takes place in 1940 and also 2013. Lottie starts off as a 10 year old in the beginning of the book and is a 13 yr old for the second half of the book. While I absolutely agree with the School I finished reading “Once Was a Time” just the other night. I read a lot of books and hands down, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It is days later and I keep thinking about the book and the plot. I wish the cover was a little more inviting but NEVER judge a book by the cover. The book takes place in 1940 and also 2013. Lottie starts off as a 10 year old in the beginning of the book and is a 13 yr old for the second half of the book. While I absolutely agree with the School Library Journal review stating that 4th-6th graders can handle this title, I believe it is one of those special books that can be taken at different levels of understanding. While my elementary grade daughter could read it today and think it is a good story, she would not “get” the importance of the 1940 setting: the young Princess Elizabeth’s first speech on the wireless, what a ration book is, Blackouts, Blitzkriegs, Nazis, and some of the British words for things. A believe a 6-8th grader would have a better chance of understanding and appreciating how important these beautifully interwoven elements are to the story. I believe a 6-8th grader we could go into more of the historical setting and context, explore and understand Lottie’s world more. While part of the book is set during WWII, the war is not the overall focus of the book. The overall theme to the book is friendship, how some friendships last a lifetime, bending space and time. I found it to be beautifully written with never a boring moment. I’m a librarian. I appreciated that the first place Lottie goes to for help is the library and that throughout the book the library and the librarian continue to be an important part of Lottie’s life. Just an FYI, it has a happy ending.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I'm overjoyed to have a daughter who is also a reader. My oldest child, who is 10, reads several books a day some days and often comes to be and tells me, "Mommy, this book was so good. You have to read it!" Sadly, Mommy is a much slower reader and doesn't make time for reading the way she could, so I don't always get around to my daughter's recommendations. The other night I found my child in bed, sobbing quietly. I asked her what was wrong. "It's okay," she assured me. "It's just this book I fi I'm overjoyed to have a daughter who is also a reader. My oldest child, who is 10, reads several books a day some days and often comes to be and tells me, "Mommy, this book was so good. You have to read it!" Sadly, Mommy is a much slower reader and doesn't make time for reading the way she could, so I don't always get around to my daughter's recommendations. The other night I found my child in bed, sobbing quietly. I asked her what was wrong. "It's okay," she assured me. "It's just this book I finished. It's so sad. Well, not JUST sad, it's also happy..." "Happy-sad?" I asked, and she nodded. "That's my favorite kind of story." After that endorsement, I knew I must read this book. I found it captivating from the very beginning and devoured it the way I rarely do these days, propping my eyelids up two nights in a row so I could race to the end. The writing was lovely, the storytelling captivating, and I could really relate to the character, Lottie. Lottie is a young girl in WW2-era England who has a fascination with time travel. One day, she finds herself transported to modern-day Wisconsin. This book is about how she copes with being separated from everyone and everything she has ever known and her attempt to unravel the mystery of what happened to the friends and family she left behind. I loved the curiosity of the main character; the amount of heart the author inserts into her storytelling while avoiding treacly territory; and the prose, which is not overly flowery but still includes many great details that make the characters memorable and achieve a strong sense of place.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alexa Hamilton

    I am working really hard to review the right version of this book because I truly loved it. The easiest way to pitch it to anyone is to compare it to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead because it beautifully shows love, loneliness, friendship and time travel. I may be a sci-fi geek but this book is for all the little girls and boys who like to read about readers, or thrilling situations that cause your life to change, or why you might be friends with a group of girls who are mean. There are so m I am working really hard to review the right version of this book because I truly loved it. The easiest way to pitch it to anyone is to compare it to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead because it beautifully shows love, loneliness, friendship and time travel. I may be a sci-fi geek but this book is for all the little girls and boys who like to read about readers, or thrilling situations that cause your life to change, or why you might be friends with a group of girls who are mean. There are so many layers. Once I finished this book, I did not want to pick up another one right away and that is saying something.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cadence McDowell

    I loved Once Was a Time and was kind of surprised that I did. It started out in like the 1940's which was a big turn off because I'm not a huge historical fiction fan. I gave it a try anyway and I'm glad that I did. It had a lot of ups and downs and a great storyline. The story of Lottie and Kitty will forever be great. I loved Once Was a Time and was kind of surprised that I did. It started out in like the 1940's which was a big turn off because I'm not a huge historical fiction fan. I gave it a try anyway and I'm glad that I did. It had a lot of ups and downs and a great storyline. The story of Lottie and Kitty will forever be great.

  15. 5 out of 5

    April

    Once Was A Time by Leila Sales is quite a special read that I ABSOLUTELY recommend to middle graders and fans of time travel books and historical fiction. Read my review here Once Was A Time by Leila Sales is quite a special read that I ABSOLUTELY recommend to middle graders and fans of time travel books and historical fiction. Read my review here

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maria Caplin

    I never read time travel books. This story grabbed me and I had to find out what happened to Kitty and Lottie. The historic settings were years apart and captivated me. A must read for 2016 Newberry Club. Thanks Bill for the recommendation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Prince William Public Libraries

    This story was very interesting, the friendship of 2 girls lasts a lifetime and how both of them travel far and look for clues to find each other. I love how this story combines the concept of the past, present, and future. I was on an emotional journey the whole time, like for example I was yelling, screaming excitingly, crying, because of the book… My family members had to come and check on me t see what was going one. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, it will remain one of my favorit This story was very interesting, the friendship of 2 girls lasts a lifetime and how both of them travel far and look for clues to find each other. I love how this story combines the concept of the past, present, and future. I was on an emotional journey the whole time, like for example I was yelling, screaming excitingly, crying, because of the book… My family members had to come and check on me t see what was going one. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, it will remain one of my favorite books for a very long time. -Fazi, PWPLS Teen Reader Click here to find the book at the Prince William County Public Library System.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This is the first book that I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. It's a nice little story about friendship and determination with some time travel and history thrown in. Although I am much older than the characters in this book, it transport me back to my middle school days. Would definitely recommend it to middle graders. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. It's a nice little story about friendship and determination with some time travel and history thrown in. Although I am much older than the characters in this book, it transport me back to my middle school days. Would definitely recommend it to middle graders.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    *cries happily over friendship that stretches across time*

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matt Gortner

    I thought the book handled the concept of time travel very well, and pulled the plot together in a way that made you go ahh. I like how she had to adapt to her her new environment.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Simmons

    3.5 stars

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jahnavigouri Panicker

    I found this book somewhat not as good as I thought it to be . The first section was interesting after that I found it not that nice. I don't honestly liked the main character also . I found this book really confusing and sad . I don't found this book the right book for me that is it. Maybe some people may like it . I felt it an annoying read. Literally I don't want to give any negative feedback. Because I always respect the hardworkand dedication behind every published book . However I genuinely I found this book somewhat not as good as I thought it to be . The first section was interesting after that I found it not that nice. I don't honestly liked the main character also . I found this book really confusing and sad . I don't found this book the right book for me that is it. Maybe some people may like it . I felt it an annoying read. Literally I don't want to give any negative feedback. Because I always respect the hardworkand dedication behind every published book . However I genuinely felt this is not the kind of read for me atleast .

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC! I adore Lelia Sales' writing, though last year I admit my disappoint when it came to Tonight the Streets Are Ours. However, when I heard she was writing a middle grade novel, I had high hopes, and even higher expectations. I loved this book! In fact, I loved it so much I read it in a day. This is a novel about time travel and friendship. More particularly can a friendship transcend through time and still survive. When Lottie jumps through a portal during Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC! I adore Lelia Sales' writing, though last year I admit my disappoint when it came to Tonight the Streets Are Ours. However, when I heard she was writing a middle grade novel, I had high hopes, and even higher expectations. I loved this book! In fact, I loved it so much I read it in a day. This is a novel about time travel and friendship. More particularly can a friendship transcend through time and still survive. When Lottie jumps through a portal during a critical moment in time, she is transported to 2013. She spends a lot of time blaming herself into believing that the Nazi's had murdered her best friend Kitty, and father. Interestingly, however, beyond this premise, this book has more to do with how a time traveler adapts to a new environment. Lottie struggles a lot in this novel in regards to who she thinks she is, and who she perhaps wants to become in the "future." I felt for her in the story, because trying to feel apart of a world that isn't your own, it's awkward and uncomfortable. There's so much loneliness and isolation in this book as well, and even when Lottie makes friends, it never feels comfortable or "right." I loved the relationship that Lottie forms with Miss Timms, the town's librarian, and anytime she discussed funding cuts, and budget issues, my heart sank (as a library worker anytime you hear those words your heart sinks). But I loved their friendship and I loved how genuine it was, especially since Miss Timms encourages Lottie to try and find herself through the library. I also loved Lottie's desire to read the whole Children's Collection -- a girl of my own heart. I wanted to smack Dakota and friends throughout this book. Especially anytime they would coarse Lottie into bullying Jake. I was so sad Lottie kept caving to the peer-pressure, but I also loved how much of a wonderful friendship she strikes up with Jake! He's such a darling character, full of energy and life, and being a kid like Jake who was bullied, I felt for her a lot during the story. The latter half of the novel where they are together in the search for Kitty was priceless, and I loved his level of encouragement. The ending made me cry like a baby, because it's just so bittersweet and wonderful. Once Was A Time is just such an enchanting novel that will tug at your feelings and hang on for dear life. It's emotional, thoughtful, and very much a book-lover's book as well. If you can suspend your disbelief and enjoy the small science fiction aspects within the story, then you'll find a lot to enjoy here. I can't wait to re-read this one in the future!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peach

    2.5 I was two seconds away from DNFing this because it starts off insanely boring. I'm new to Leila Sales. I've had Tonight The Streets Are Ours on my wishlist for eight years now, so I'd have to consider her middle-grade debut mediocre. It's the year 1940. England is torn apart by war. Charlotte Bromley and Catherine "Kitty" McLaughlin are best friends. Charlotte's father is a scientist, investigating the theory of time travel. After being confronted and kidnapped by a suspicious group, Charlo 2.5 I was two seconds away from DNFing this because it starts off insanely boring. I'm new to Leila Sales. I've had Tonight The Streets Are Ours on my wishlist for eight years now, so I'd have to consider her middle-grade debut mediocre. It's the year 1940. England is torn apart by war. Charlotte Bromley and Catherine "Kitty" McLaughlin are best friends. Charlotte's father is a scientist, investigating the theory of time travel. After being confronted and kidnapped by a suspicious group, Charlotte and Kitty are held captive along with her father by Germans, who demand information about time travel in exchange for their lives. So when a portal miraculously materializes in the corner of the room, Charlotte is immediately pouncing for it. She tries to mention it to Kitty, but she's oblivious to it. So out of desperation, she dives in alone and abandons her best friend. Obviously, she quashes the Wicked Witch of the East and follows the Yellow Brick Road and the story ends on a tragic cliffhanger. Gosh, I kid. Instead of winding up somewhere glamorous, the portal tosses her into classic ol Sutton, Wisconsin. Being from 1900s England, Charlotte obviously has no clue where she is, so when she stumbles upon a residential area and a friendly boy, near her age, named Jake. She's initially hesitant and wanting only to return to Kitty. In retrospect, the idea is fabulous but I expected action. There was nothing that completely had me. Charlotte is snatched by CPS and really does nothing to fight it. I thought she'd go on the run or try harder to return to her timezone. She pretends to be part of a Mean Girls-esque clique, dreams of Kitty occasionally, and struggles to choose a curriculum. #FirstWorldProblems I expected action and drama and better friendships, all of which we did not receive. Charlotte was a terrible friend. Kitty. And why was Kitty so perfect? I need Kitty to be my best friend. (view spoiler)[ Kitty did everything for her. Like, Sloane from Since You've Been Gone and Charlotte hardly appreciated what she'd done for her. (hide spoiler)] The story needed to be longer. I feel like I'm missing a vital chunk of the plotline. Why do portals randomly appear? Why didn't Charlotte try harder to return to her century? Why was Jake so okay with everything? So many unanswered questions. Leila Sales is a talented writer, nonetheless, but I was hardly knocked from my chair by this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. (Thanks, LibraryThing!) Once Was A Time begins with Lottie and Kitty, best friends who live in war torn England in 1940. Lottie's father is scientist researching time travel and certain people would do anything to get their hands on his research. Lottie and Kitty are kidnapped in an attempt to persuade Lottie's father to share his research. Right as things go from bad to worse, a portal appears in front of Lottie, she makes I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. (Thanks, LibraryThing!) Once Was A Time begins with Lottie and Kitty, best friends who live in war torn England in 1940. Lottie's father is scientist researching time travel and certain people would do anything to get their hands on his research. Lottie and Kitty are kidnapped in an attempt to persuade Lottie's father to share his research. Right as things go from bad to worse, a portal appears in front of Lottie, she makes a quick decision to jump through it, not knowing where or when it will drop her. Lottie arrives in 2013 Wisconsin with nothing but the pajamas she's wearing and is forced to make a life for herself, making peace with the fact that she may never find a way back. That doesn't mean she stops hoping that someday, someway she'll find a way to reunite with Kitty. I absolutely adored this book. It had everything. Part time travel, part mystery, part of coming of age, what's not to love? I particularly enjoyed how realistic the book was in dealing with the aftermath of Lottie's time travel. Eventually she had to begin living in 2013, sleeping curled up among books only works for a couple of days, after that you need a shower and a proper meal. And after said meal, any decent person is going to do something about a homeless ten year old with no family or home. I found Lottie incredibly self aware and loved that even she could see that as time passed, she was losing herself. The book did a wonderful job exploring friendship and the idea that the people we choose as friends are a reflection of who we are. The ending was beautiful. It was slightly unexpected but completely wonderful and satisfying. I really don't have a bad thing to say about this book. It was a joy to read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carly [A Beauty & Her Books]

    Thank you to Raincoast Publishing for sending me this ARC novel is exchange for an honest review. This book is targeted towards children in grade school, about ages 9-13. It is not about a sappy romance, but instead about friendship and the hardships that some come across. Starting with the cover art, it represents the subject of the book perfectly. The two girls on the cover, Lottie and Kitty, are presented in the time periods in which they are trapped. The decades that are shown in the lettering Thank you to Raincoast Publishing for sending me this ARC novel is exchange for an honest review. This book is targeted towards children in grade school, about ages 9-13. It is not about a sappy romance, but instead about friendship and the hardships that some come across. Starting with the cover art, it represents the subject of the book perfectly. The two girls on the cover, Lottie and Kitty, are presented in the time periods in which they are trapped. The decades that are shown in the lettering help the children picture where and when the girls are. The story that the book tells is a touching story of a friendship, even if it is long distance and through a different decade. The thought of time travel was always proved as being a myth, but not in this book. Time travel can be true, you just have to know how and when to find the time portal. This story is beautifully told through the perspective of Charlotte, aka Lottie, as she travels from the past to the future without her best friend. Lottie has to learn to adopt to the ways of the future yet find a way back to her time. The way this story is described is perfect for children in grade school as the words are not to difficult to understand. The book is the perfect length and the story develops throughout the pages. Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this book. It was different from most of the books I read, which is nice to try something different. I highly recommend children to read this book, especially if they enjoy sci-fi and the theory of time travel. Be sure to check out this book when it come out in March 2016! -Read On Darlings!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elevetha

    This definitely had a few issues, especially concerning what would have happened realistically in some of the situations, but but but I actually really ended up enjoying it. The story took a surprising and not unwelcome turn and I loved how the story played out, as bittersweet as it was. Some of the things I scoffed a bit at were that (view spoiler)[-for being Top Secret and all that, Charlotte's dad sure shared a lot of information about time travel with his family. - Charlotte was able to have n This definitely had a few issues, especially concerning what would have happened realistically in some of the situations, but but but I actually really ended up enjoying it. The story took a surprising and not unwelcome turn and I loved how the story played out, as bittersweet as it was. Some of the things I scoffed a bit at were that (view spoiler)[-for being Top Secret and all that, Charlotte's dad sure shared a lot of information about time travel with his family. - Charlotte was able to have not a single person seriously question where/when she came from, even though she basically didn't know about anything in 2013. - Jake's family allowed/was okay with taking Charlotte with them to Italy and then traipsing around Italy doing things and going places she wanted to, and not where they wanted. On the opposite side of unrealistic is that while I totally disliked Dakota and really wanted Charlotte to not be friends with her, I understood how Charlotte could have easily gotten sucked in that sort of friendship considering all that had happened. (hide spoiler)] It's weird because I think I enjoyed the ending more now as an adult than I would have as a child, but I would have probably liked the book as a whole more as a kid?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Couillard-Smith

    A lovely tribute to female friendship, with a time-travel twist. I enjoyed the way Sales balances the time-travel aspect with what is really a book about female relationships and about friendship more generally - what it means to be a friend, how relationships change, the ways that children hurt each other. Many of the characters are a bit one-note, including the foster parents and the mean girl characters, but Charlotte is wonderfully realistic and richly portrayed, particularly in the way she A lovely tribute to female friendship, with a time-travel twist. I enjoyed the way Sales balances the time-travel aspect with what is really a book about female relationships and about friendship more generally - what it means to be a friend, how relationships change, the ways that children hurt each other. Many of the characters are a bit one-note, including the foster parents and the mean girl characters, but Charlotte is wonderfully realistic and richly portrayed, particularly in the way she makes mistakes in her interactions with her peers. Some plot points come across as a bit too easy, but the longing at the heart of the novel, for Charlotte to find her true best friend, Kitty, is achingly real, and readers will be rooting for the impossible to happen. The resolution is remarkably straightforward and refreshingly doesn't involve science fiction at all. Young readers may wish Sales had spent a bit more time on Charlotte's adjustment to an entirely new era, but in the end, the quick pace and focused plot will keep them hooked on the main conflict, finding Kitty. An enjoyable piece of realistic fiction with a sci-fi hook.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Susan Dunn

    Charlotte and her best friend Kitty have know each other since they were babies. At ten years old they are still as thick as thieves. The are also both fascinated with Charlotte’s father’s work investigating time travel. He is convinced that traveling through time is a possibility - and that time portals exist and can occasionally be seen. The problem is though, that once you go through a time portal you don’t know where you’re going to end up - and you can never come back to the exact place and Charlotte and her best friend Kitty have know each other since they were babies. At ten years old they are still as thick as thieves. The are also both fascinated with Charlotte’s father’s work investigating time travel. He is convinced that traveling through time is a possibility - and that time portals exist and can occasionally be seen. The problem is though, that once you go through a time portal you don’t know where you’re going to end up - and you can never come back to the exact place and time you left behind…. When the unbelievable happens and a portal opens up in front of Charlotte she finds herself transported from WWII England to modern day Wisconsin. But what now? She left her best friend behind and there’s no way to get back to her, and Charlotte is in a foreign country with no family or friends to help. This fascinating and quick moving story will have readers imagining their own time adventures.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    Once Was a Time by [Sales, Leila]In 1940 Charlotte Bromley and Kitty McLaughlin are best friends. When Charlotte's father, a scientist, discovers something that the Germans will want, Charlotte has to make a hard decision. Should she stay with Kitty or travel somewhere in time and place. Her decision leaves her alone in the world. She does not know what happens with Kitty. She knows she has to find a way to return to her friend. This book is written for children in grades 4-6. I believe, although Once Was a Time by [Sales, Leila]In 1940 Charlotte Bromley and Kitty McLaughlin are best friends. When Charlotte's father, a scientist, discovers something that the Germans will want, Charlotte has to make a hard decision. Should she stay with Kitty or travel somewhere in time and place. Her decision leaves her alone in the world. She does not know what happens with Kitty. She knows she has to find a way to return to her friend. This book is written for children in grades 4-6. I believe, although it is intense, children in these grades will love this book. It is a wonderful story of friendship, and the idea of time travel. This beautifully written book is exciting and the ending is perfect. I highly recommend this book. I was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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