A Year Without Autumn
Summary: Thirteen-year-old Jenni's much-anticipated vacation with her family and best friend Autumn goes awry when an old elevator transports her to a future in which everything has changed, and she must not only return to her time but find a way to prevent what she has seen from coming true.
Jenni doesn't choose to travel forward in time; it just happens and what she finds is confusing and unhappy. How did all this mess occur? It takes her awhile to figure out what has happened to make her and her best friend's life so miserable and then how to sort the trauma into something good. Jenni discovers that a missed horse riding date with Autumn causes a near-fatal accident for Autumn's little brother, Mikey. The trickle down affect of this accident is what sheds light on a sad future for her best friend's family and her in retrospect.
This is a wonderful book to share with a friend or a class full of students. Problem solving and cause and affect would be good discussion topics. Jenni grows as a character and I love how this makes her more sure of herself and her friendship with Autumn. You got to trust yourself first. I think young readers (probably girls) will love this time travel book about friendship. It reminded me of that famous line "There but for the grace of God go I". You never know what circumstances can bring a family down if Autumn's family can change in an instance.
I slink out of the house like a burglar, silently closing the front door behind me, and head for Autumn's building.
The lobby is empty. It looks the same as it's looked every day, the same as it looks every year. The marble walls, the fountain trickling out behind a glass panel, the archway to the first-floor hallway. The elevator. The one we've always used. And next to it, the other one: the one that's never worked. Until yesterday. (146)
While it doesn't have mermaids for characters this story is a though-provoking twist of fate tale. Perfect for understanding the complexities of family life and how simple moments can change everything.