Parents' Guide to

Shine Until Tomorrow

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Lots of heart, silly time travel in divorce-themed tale.

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The time-travel plot is implausibly packed with convenient coincidence, but there's a lot of heart and relatable emotion in Carla Malden's tale of a 2007 teen plopped into the Summer of Love. Skeptical readers of Shine Until Tomorrow will wonder, for example, why nobody in 1967 seems to notice that they're getting currency from 2007, and why the city fathers of tony Kentfield in Marin County have ignored the presence of a wrecked hippie van by the side of the road for 40 years. But there's a lot of emotional insight, and the lively narrative captures quite a bit of the sheer overload of being a sheltered suburban teen landing on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in the spring of 1967.

And there are some great moments, as here, when narrator Mari expresses what it feels like to be a kid of divorce as she listens to the weasely answering machine message in which her dad is making it clear he doesn't want to see her because he'd rather hang with his much-younger girlfriend: "Between work and the new girlfriend, a good-sized crack has opened up in my dad's life -- turns out it's just the right size for me to fall into. That's the thing about divorce that parents don't get. Once they get together with a new significant other, you're just a satellite orbiting their shiny new planet. Doesn't mean they don't want to have you touch down every now and then, but if the timing doesn't work out just right for a link-up, there's always the next rotation."

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