Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Copper Room – Henry Melton

©2011 Wire Rim Books, Hutto, Texas

Christmas came early for me this year. I arrived at the post just a couple of short weeks ago to find a copy of Henry Melton’s latest installment in the Small Towns, Big Ideas series. When I find such a wonderful prize waiting for me, it’s hard to finish the reading I’m doing before cracking open the new title from Melton. But I restrained myself (for at least three days), then got right down to business and was (as always) glad I did.

Each volume of Melton’s YA series focuses on a teenage protagonist (or set of same) and the adventures they encounter. Most of the stories include a bit of romantic tension, but this is the first time that the relationship between our two main characters (Jerry and Lil) are thrust into situations that cause their “puppy love” feelings blossom more quickly than most.

Jereomy Harris helps his Uncle Greg build a copper Faraday Cage large enough to be a room. The point behind the invention is to make time stand still (inside or out). It’s the perfect place for Jerry to catch up/keep up with his studies for the last few months of High School. He can cram eight hours of study time in the room into about thirty seconds in the real world time.

Then he meets Uncle Greg’s neighbor’s daughter, Lillian. Lil is a cheerleader for a rival school. But that matters not to the two teenagers. They start seeing each other, then by accident they bump the controls to the Copper Room hurtling them decades into the future. During the course of the adventure, they learn to operate the room keeping them out of trouble, while at the same time letting them influence change in society (even when society has taken it upon itself to self-destruct). 

What makes this time travel story different from most (including Melton’s own previous venture into the time travel genre) time travel stories is that Jerry’s time machine only lets travelers go in a forward direction. What makes this new story a different step for Henry is his dabble into romantic teenage struggles. I must applaud him on giving his characters restraint and commitment to purity.

He deals with history, future speculation, what-ifs concerning not only traveling in time, but also life on other planets, space travel, and re-establishment of a society after nuclear war. And he does it in a superb and readable manner. Thanks for the early Christmas, Henry. And reader, even if you don’t get to enjoy this story before Christmas, get it and enjoy it afterwards. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. Five reading glasses.

—Benjamin Potter, December 22, 2011
[This book was provided for review by Wire Rim Books of Hutto, Texas. Opinions are my own.]

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