The second in the entertaining Blowback trilogy about a magical woodwind instrument that blasts people to the past to solve current problems, Blowback ’63 is twice the fun when two boys get sent back in time. Their adventure involves baseball, romantic love, and the Civil War.
This YA time-travel series focuses on twin teenagers, Arky and Iris Jongler-Jinks, and Arky’s friends Danny and Matt. In book one, Matt is blown back to 1907 by the musical instrument passed down through the Jongler family. This time, the music sends Arky and Danny to Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1863 shortly before the Civil War. As the twins have learned, the magical music chooses one person to learn a specific lesson from the past. But is that person Arky or Danny? The two get tricked into active military duty, and may not live long enough to find out.
Meanwhile, back home, Iris attempts to return the boys to the present, find their mother who is also lost in time, and flirt with Matt, who may be falling in love with her—if he can forget the girl he met in 1907.
Comical and interconnected, this book successfully juggles several stories in different places and times. Just when things heat up between Iris and Matt, the story returns to Arky and Danny…and vice versa. This delicate balancing act keeps the story interesting.
Young adult readers will appreciate the story’s highly readable style, which includes plenty of trash-talking and humor. (As Arky walks alone through enemy territory, “he sang what he could remember of ‘Yankee Doodle Mind Your Step.’ Fortunately, no Union picket shot him for being a rebel, or for singing out of tune.”)
This is a delightful fantasy series—one that sneaks in enough historical facts to please parents and teachers, as well as its intended audience. As Blowback ‘63 ends, with hints about what’s coming in the next book, readers will find themselves eagerly awaiting the third installment.
Also available as an ebook.