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13 / 30 books. 43% done!

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35 / 51 states. 69% done!

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74 / 104 books. 71% done!

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Friday, June 10, 2022

Time Will Tell Not the Tightest, But Still Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

High schoolers Liam, Elayah, Jorja, and Marcie are close friends, just like their parents were back in the day. When the foursome learns about a time capsule their parents hid back in 1986, they decide to dig it up just for fun. Among the expected items—photos, mixtapes, newspaper clippings, old coins—the teens make a shocking discovery: a bloody knife and a note that says, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to kill anyone." Is it just a stupid joke? Or did one of their parents actually murder someone?

When other disconcerting things start to happen, the kids realize that they've stumbled upon a decades-old secret that someone does not want revealed. As they start poking around, digging into their parents' pasts, disturbing information comes to light. What really happened between their parents? Who died? And, most importantly, which one of the adults they all know and love is a murderer?

I'm always up for a dual-timeline mystery about secrets of the past coming to light. Time Will Tell, a YA mystery by Barry Lyga, gives the classic premise a fun spin by turning a group of teens into detectives investigating their parents' long-hidden secrets. At 421 pages, the novel is longer than necessary but it moves along at a fair pace. Not a fast one, but not a super slow one either. True, there's not tons of action; still, I zipped through the book, eager to know what was going to happen next. Many reviewers have complained that the tale is confusing because there are lots of characters and it's difficult to keep them all straight, especially the parents because they're referred to as "Mom/Dad" or "so-and-so's mom/dad." I get this, although I also understand that the obscured identities are necessary to keep the mystery suspenseful. Still, it does make the story confusing at times. For the most part, Lyga's story people are sympathetic and likable. I wanted good things for most of them. Plotwise, Time Will Tell isn't the tightest. There are several holes and things that just didn't make much sense to me. Overall, then, I didn't love this book. I did like it well enough, though. It kept me reading.

(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence, disturbing subject matter, and mild sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. I like the premise of the teen investigating their parents!

  2. I like that concept that the kids in the present are investigating their parents, whom it sounds like they like. A parental secret is a compelling idea.

  3. This sounds like it might be a good book to read when you’re at the beach or some other place that lends itself to books that don’t require close attention to detail or keeping track of a complex plot.

    Or at least that’s where I’d read it. :)

    Good review!

  4. I think it's an interesting premise with four teens digging into their parents' pasts. And finding a knife in the time capsule is a good twist. But it sounds like the rest of the book needed to be executed just a little bit better.

  5. This really is a neat idea! I can't think of anything like it, either. (And that cover is really compelling. Kudos to whoever came up with that image idea!)

  6. Sorry you didn't like this one as much as you wanted. I'm glad it kept you reading, though. The premise sounds fun. I wonder if I'd like it? I'm going to put it on my TBR.


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