Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens."
Hope's mother has unexpectedly died leaving Hope behind with her step-dad and his pretentious family. Things are looking pretty grim until Hope's aunt, whom she has never met, contacts her to come visit in Scotland. This would normally be a great idea, except for the fact that Hope suffers from claustrophobia and other phobias that negatively impact her life. Thanks to medication, she makes it to Scotland where her aunt and family live in the Highlands. As Hope spends more time with these people, she comes to realize that they aren't the usual family and her mother hid some secrets. They are members of a secret group of time travelers and her mother was one as well. Hope finds out that her mother didn't actually die; she is stuck in the twelfth century in London. It's up to Hope to rescue her. Janet B. Taylor's Into the Dim, despite its slow start, is a decent time travel adventure filled with many historical details.
I wish I could tell you I loved Hope, but that wasn't the case. Within fifty pages of Into the Dim, I was so annoyed with her stereotypical comments. She referred to cheerleaders as busty, blonde and brainless. Must we play into this stereotype...especially since younger girls are going to be reading this? On more than one occasion she makes negative references to other girls, which I found disheartening. I'm SO over this in young adult literature; must females constantly tear each other down? Anyway, I persevered and stuck with the novel despite my less than lukewarm feelings towards Hope. And it must be said, Hope shouldn't be pointing fingers at anyone. Yes, she is extremely smart, but she has many psychological problems and is FAR from perfect.
What I liked about Into the Dim were the historical details. I thought Taylor did a good job of including a lot of information about 12th Century London without making it too much like a textbook. I found the time period of Eleanor of Aquitaine to be very captivating along with Hope's adventure of trying to assimilate into the culture of the time and ultimately find her mother.
While I was hoping for more of an Outlander time-travel vibe, I would say that Into the Dim is more similar to Claudia Gray's Firebird series instead.
Into the Dim was one of my most highly anticipated debuts for 2016 and unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me in many areas. In the end, I am glad I stuck with it, because the good outweighed the bad; however, I am not sure I will be picking up the sequel though.