Time’s Up, Harry Lark! By Hilary Hawkes

four stars

Imagine a computer game that can show you startlingly accurate predictions about events that have yet to occur. If you found a game like this, would you use it to try and stop bad things from happening? This is the premise for Hilary Hawkes’ children’s novel Time’s Up, Harry Lark! The story follows a boy named Harry, who suffers from dyslexia. He loves playing tricks on people, especially his older sister, Clara. The real action and adventure starts when Harry and his friend Jake find the computer game that has these mysterious time-traveling like powers. Even though the boys try to change the future, the game outsmarts them, and their interventions don’t end up working out the way they plan. After a while, the game reveals the most serious prediction of all, and the boys have to try to outsmart the program to stop a terrible event from occurring.

As the title suggests, this novel for children and young adults plays with time in an interesting and thought-provoking way. Hilary Hawkes has succeeded again at creating realistic characters that children can both identify with and learn from. As the reader follows along Harry and Jake’s adventures, they begin to understand that the future is an unruly place, an unknown that cannot be tamed. The pages will pass them by quickly, as they race towards the conclusion, hoping that the young boys can figure out a way to get to a future that is better off than the one the computer game predicts.

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