Thursday, December 24, 2020

Book Review: If She Had Stayed

By Sara Steven

Kaley Kline is thrilled to have landed a job as director of the new Tesla Museum in Colorado Springs. To make the museum successful, she searches for undiscovered works to display. When she finds an old safe that might have been Tesla’s, she’s shocked to find some diary pages supposedly written by the inventor himself.

Kaley initially thinks either that the journal is a fraud or Tesla was experiencing a nervous breakdown when he wrote it. However, if his experiments were real, the world will never be the same. She decides to secretly build Tesla’s time machine and attempt to go back into her own life to change a decision she has always regretted.

She prepares for a trip to the past, not knowing whether she will electrocute herself or travel back to the Boulder of her sophomore year in college. But an old boyfriend might have hidden some secrets from her—secrets that could have her fighting for her life.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I’ve heard of the name “Tesla” but had been unaware of how many inventions the real Nikola Tesla had been on the forefront of. We learn that Kaley discovers diary pages from Tesla hidden within an old safe, pages that hint towards the possibility of time travel. Given his many other inventions and the viability that goes with the Tesla name, she begins to formulate a plan that will potentially make her the first, or really, the second person ever to successfully experience time travel. 

Throughout all of this is the former boyfriend, a man who Kaley can’t get a firm read on. I felt the same way, as the reader. It made the moments with him all the more suspenseful. It seemed as though Kaley walked a fine line, not sure if she could trust him yet feeling as though she doesn’t really have anyone else to trust. I could tell just how difficult it was for her. 

The moment when Kaley decides to take the plunge and try to time travel and all the moments going forward felt like an emotional and physical rollercoaster. As disoriented as she felt, I felt that way, too. It was like a kaleidoscope of experiences and miscalculations that really added to the accurate sensations and rollercoaster ride. The moments before the plunge felt slow at times. I’d wanted to get to the time machine sooner than what Kaley allowed, which made a few chapters drag in some areas. However, the rest of the time I time warped ahead and beyond, unable to put the time machine and everything else that went with it in the book, down. 

A book about the potential for time travel is an interesting idea. Throwing in the secrets and suspense, along with a potential romance with a former boyfriend who can either make or break Kaley’s experiences and success only added to the interest, making If She Had Stayed a truly unique read!

Thanks to Red Adept Publishing for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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