TITLE: All the Time in the World
GENRE: YA Sci-fi
Seventeen-year-old Derek has only two goals in life: play major league baseball and marry his best friend, Corinne. When a spacetime glitch pulls his future kids into the present, he learns he didn’t marry Corinne, but his abrasive, STEM rival, Michelle. Now forced to play house with a girl he hates, Derek slowly grows more attached to his imperfect family, prompting him to choose between the life he envisioned and the life he never saw coming.
Derek Lyttle’s daughter, Deirdre has all the time in the world.
Sometimes, it’s a terrible burden.
They say time is a relative concept, used to push the world along, a measurement of self-worth and importance. Deirdre closes her eyes, feeling the clock at work.
April 3rd, 2029. 7:20 pm.
She has a day planner, a watch, an alarm clock, a daily routine, all tools to keep her life in order.
Except time isn’t natural. Animals don’t use planners. Trees don’t wear watches. Fish don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve. Only humans chart the days ahead, which means they recognize someday, printed on a distant calendar, that their lives will end, and they’ll be gone.
But the question will remain: Did they make the time count? [I LIKE THE INSIGHTS ON TIME SO FAR, BUT THIS ONE FEELS LIKE TOO MUCH. IT FEELS LIKE STATING THE THEME OF THE NOVEL BEFORE WE EVEN KNOW WHO OR WHAT THE NOVEL IS ABOUT.]
Deirdre thinks about her mother, a woman who uses her time well. There’s rarely a moment where Michelle Lyttle hasn’t locked herself in the drafty basement, beneath the light fixtures that blink and buzz, welding panels together, so her employer’s exploratory rover can withstand Mars’ frigid temperatures without cracking. [AT FIRST, I THOUGHT THIS WAS SET ON MARS. A MENTION OF SETTING EARLIER ON WOULD HELP THIS.]
Michelle [IT FEELS WEIRD TO BE “IN” DEIRDRE’S HEAD YET HAVE HER MENTALLY REFER TO HER MOTHER BY HER FIRST NAME.] says being a good engineer requires hard work and vision. But to be a great engineer, you need perseverance. And time.
Which is why Michelle keeps busy, making dinner for her family but never eating, foregoing date night with her husband to install new wheel cylinders in her model, skipping movie marathons with her children and meteor showers beneath the Oregon sky.
I like the writing, and I love the insights on time. I would read on, but there are two things that would make me skeptical while doing so.
The first is that both the pitch and the opening line led me to believe this story would be about Derek. As a result, it was confusing to realize that we were in Dierdre’s head instead. That small amount of confusion can often be enough for an agent or reader to drop a book in favor of the dozens of other options they have to get through in a busy day.
The second is that we learn very little about Dierdre on this page. We learn a couple of things in a few one-line paragraphs (be careful with those, by the way; it’s real easy to overuse them, as I think you may be doing here), but the rest of it is just Dierdre musing about time and then her mother. If we’re in Dierdre’s head, we should know more about her as soon as possible—what are her goals, her struggles, and why does she have all the time in the world? If the story’s not about her, then maybe we shouldn’t be in her head.
As I said, though, I would read on. There’s a lot of promise here, and based on the pitch, I’m curious about where it will go.