Parents' Guide to

Passenger, Book 1

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Taut time-travel adventure-romance explores race, sex bias.

Passenger, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Time Travel for Teens

This book doesn’t get bogged down in the sciences time travel, but instead focuses on the difficulties the characters may face as a women, and as a black man in different counties and eras. The love story doesn’t take over the novel, but is important to the storyline. Some violence and swearing, but nothing worse than what teens are watching on YouTube or Netflix.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

Compelling and difficult to put down, this is a story that teaches about the past while also commenting on the present. Author Alexandra Bracken's popular dystopian trilogy The Darkest Minds is also action-packed and filled with capable characters and a strong romance, but Passenger takes things to another level by adding historical settings and context. Born in Colonial America to a slave and her master, Nicholas has the good fortune of being brought up by open-minded white relatives who free him and teach him how to be a seaman. To Nicholas, freedom is the sea, and his undeniable feelings for Etta seem dangerous and a distraction compared with the promise of his own ship. Meanwhile, Etta, who was raised in New York City where multiracial couples are commonplace, freely flirts, stares, and with her 21st-century mind doesn't understand how impossible the situation must seem to Nicholas.

The time rules vary from easy-to-understand (passengers can't visit a time in which they might come across themselves) to a bit more mercurial. But the only troublesome issue is that Cyrus Ironwood is almost too evil a villain. He's basically inhuman, but perhaps future installments will fix that. The supporting characters are wonderfully written, from Nicholas' inner circle of two -- his kind and wise father figure, Captain Hall, and fellow adopted brother, Chase -- to Etta's grandmotherly violin instructor, Alice, and her secret cousin, Hasan. Kudos to Bracken for tackling race, gender roles, family expectations, teen relationships, and the way power and greed corrupt men. Once readers finish the scream-inducing cliffhanger, they'll need to know what happens next.

Book Details

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate