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James’ parents are divorcing. This news is dumped
on the eleven -year-old while at the dinner table. First it seems they are
moving house again. But things soon become clear.

Mum disconnects herself from her family by taking
her maiden name back and renting a tiny apartment to live in. James can’t
understand why this decision has been made and doesn’t ask.

He struggles to live a life between two parents. He
is permanently friendless and finds it hard to connect with other people.

James is drawn to Yan, another lonely soul with a
brilliant mind. A friendship grows.

His dad has sixteen computers in his man cave and his
main one has an internet Time Machine programmed into it.

 It can revert to any point in time showing
every memory connected to that point.

James’ science week project is pending, and he
decides to use Time Travel as his subject.

He obsesses over all that will never happen
again now that his parents have separated.
He believes that if he finds the
perfect memory, safe, predictable, and perfect, and returns to that point
in time and stays there, he will be relieved of his shattered life.

With Yan controlling the time machine and the
coordinates, James finds that the memories recalled are not the way that he
remembers them. One by one, they are cancelled out.

 While
seeking the perfect memory, he finds himself and his own truth.

I loved this brilliant coming-of-age story with its
outstanding prose and memorable turns of phrase. It is a rapid page-turner that
subtly reveals the necessity of memories, but also how they are seldom exactly
as they are recalled, therefore can’t be trusted.

At times they must be left in the past where they
belong.

Title: Countdown to Yesterday

Author: Shirley Marr

Publisher: Penguin, $16.99
Publication Date: 30 January 2024

Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781761340598

For ages: 10+

Type: Middle Grade Fiction

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