Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Copper Room -- Henry Melton

Henry Melton's latest YA novel is a time-travel adventure. Jerry's uncle Greg invents the copper room of the title, an enclosure inside which time stands (almost) still. Stay inside for fifteen hours, and only five minutes pass outside. But Greg makes a big mistake. The room has two sets of controls, and one of them can send the room into the future in the blink of an eye. Sure enough, Jerry decides that it would be a fine idea to invite his girlfriend, Lil, to study with him in the room. The can do all their homework and have plenty of time for other things once back outside. Which is fine until they accidentally bump into the other controls and find out there's no way they can ever return to their own time again.

They learn how to control the machine and jump ahead into different eras, looking for one that's hospitable. Not an easy job, and Melton explores various possible futures, most of them not pleasant. Jerry and Lil are nothing if not resourceful, and they become legendary figures as they deal with slavery, spaceships, and more.

What's unique about this book is the relationship between Jerry and Lil, two teens in love but with strong moral restraints against consummating that love without the benefit of marriage. You're not going to find this kind of thing in the usual YA novel.

The Copper Room is another winner from Melton. It's an entertaining ride into several possible futures, with some nice little twists along the way. There's humor, too, and the idea of a time traveler who often wears a cheerleader outfit is especially amusing. Check it out.

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