Published by HarperCollins on April 29, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
When thirteen-year-old Margaret's father is unfairly sentenced to death by the cruel Judge Biggs, she is determined to save him, even if it means using her family's secret-and forbidden-ability to time travel. With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret goes back to a time when Judge Biggs was a young boy and tries to prevent the chain of events that transformed him into a corrupt, jaded man.
Confession: I don’t read much middle grade. OK, any. Including Harry Potter. (I know, I KNOW.) But I’m a sucker for a good time travel story, and I loved the synopsis of Saving Lucas Biggs, a book that proved to be both moving and thought-provoking.
Margaret comes from a long line of time travelers. When the story begins, her father has been sentenced to a death by the crooked judge, Lucas Biggs, for a murder he didn’t commit. Margaret lives in Victory, Arizona, a mining town that is virtually run by the Victory Corporation. Her father is a geologist, and when he exposed the deadly pollution and environmental damage that was occurring as a result of Victory Corporation’s reckless mining practices, they retaliated by framing him for murder. We have to overlook a few little things, like the fact that there is apparently no appeals process in this Arizona, and apparently death sentences are carried out very quickly. Once we accept this, we can understand Margaret’s desperation and sense of urgency.
She has been taught by her father that her ability to time travel must be kept secret and must never be used to alter the past. In Saving Lucas Biggs, time travel is not simple. As Margaret has been taught, the universe strongly resists any attempts to alter history. The time traveler can die or get stuck in the past if he or she stays too long. And of course, the most inconsequential actions can have a profound affect on the future. Knowing the risks, Margaret still feels she must do whatever she can to prevent her father’s execution.
Grandpa Joshua is Margaret’s best friend, Charlie’s grandfather. He senses Margaret’s ability, and he encourages her to use it to save her father’s life. They plan to have Margaret travel back to 1938, when Josh was a teenager and the future Judge Lucas Biggs was his best friend. By doing so, she may be able to alter the past, despite the dangers, and set Lucas off the path that leads him to become the evil man that he is today, thereby saving Lucas Biggs.
The chapters alternate between Margaret’s 2014 world and Josh’s world in 1938, which Margaret soon visits. I loved the 1938 world, and these parts felt like a very thoughtful work of historical fiction. The miners are terribly exploited by Victory Corporation, until one heartless action causes them to revolt. Margaret and the teenaged Josh and Lucas become swept up in the action, and Victory Corporation in 1938 proves to be every bit as dangerous as Judge Biggs in the present time.
So, can a man like Lucas Biggs really be saved? You probably already know the answer to that. But what may surprise you is how he’s saved and by whom. What could have been a simple time travel story becomes a sweet lesson in redemption, the power of second chances, and the love of family.
Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The giveaway is open to U.S. residents 13 and older.