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Class of '59 by John A. Heldt
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Class of '59

by John A. Heldt

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Recently added byjaheldt, Hostie13, DubaiReader, Mishker

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Travel back into another era.
What would it be like to travel back in time to 1959 - over 60 years? No mobile phones, for a start, no internet, instead: movie drive-ins, proms and poodle skirts.

Mark and his younger brother, Ben are from 1959. Mark discovers the clue to time travel hidden in the back of a jammed drawer. It involves crystals, a basement and bright lights. They travel forward to 2017 and meet sisters Mary Beth and Piper, persuading them to come back with them to 1959. And so begins an adventure neither sister could ever have imagined. But it also produces a problem, how can they stay together when they don't exist in each other's time, and what about family who may be left behind?
Narrated from the POV of each of the four characters, the author provided a good insight into the reactions of each of them through their adventure.

The very early chapters involved the death of Mary Beth''s fiance in a theft related shooting and I wasn't sure how this related to the main story. I wondered whether this was a character from earlier in the series as it seemed very disconnected from Class of '59.
I also found the early part of the book confusing and I lost track of who was from which era, as they crossed in and out of time zones. I had to rewind and go back over that part. Once we became fixed in '59 it was plain sailing and I enjoyed the author's depiction of a time gone by. I loved the social lives the characters enjoyed, watching tennis from the bleachers and playing music from jukeboxes.

The narration by Patrice Gambardella was good, just a few incorrect inflections that jarred at times.
This was an amazing view into another time and would certainly be enjoyed by lovers of the 50s and time travel fans. ( )
  DubaiReader | Dec 18, 2017 |
I am still not convinced that, as a genre, time travel books are for me but John Heldt’s books certainly are and I was not disappointed with class of ‘59.

I was looking forward to reading Class of ’59 because it is a time I remember and loved the music, fashion, television shows and movie stars. I wasn’t disappointed. John A Heldt brings to life a time where the pace of life was slower, young people were ladies and gentlemen, and young love precious.

The four main characters, sisters Mary Beth and Piper, and brothers Mark and Ben, travel between 1959 and 2017. They meet when Mark discovers the time tunnel and appears in the backyard of the house where Mary Beth is holidaying. Young love grows between Mary Beth and Mark and, Piper and Ben but how will they resolve the difference in their times? The full precis is below.

Mary Beth is already a fan of the 50s but it is her sister who wants to experience high school in that era. The two sisters and the two brothers are very different characters. They balance and complement each other both as siblings and lovers.

The story is more light-hearted than the others in the series with sweet romance but with trouble and danger caused by a book from the future. The time travellers also don’t begin their journey with the help of Professor Bell

The girls even got to meet and chat with Marilyn Munroe and Mary Beth debates with another student when John F Kennedy would run for President.

Like all of Heldt’s books, the time period is both well researched and brought to life. In fact, I am starting to get a bit suspicious that John Heldt has a secret life as a time traveller.

If you have read the other American Journey books you will be interested in the brief appearance of Professor Geoffrey Bell’s parents and the conversation he has with Mary Beth at a lecture about time travel.

The ending is both clever and different to Heldt’s other stories but to even hint at it would be a spoiler.

I found the story a bit slow at times and the ending happened all too soon but it is still of a quality I have come to expect from Heldt.

I received this copy from John A. Heldt in exchange for an honest review.
Though it is the fourth in the American Journey series, like all the books in the series, you don't have to read the others. Except for Professor and Mrs Bell, these characters aren't in the other books. no introduction to what one should and should not do when traveling into the past or into the future by Professor Bell.

My rating 4*
  Hostie13 | Nov 6, 2017 |
Mary Beth McIntire and her sister Piper are trying to enjoy a vacation in a California historic house, the Painted Lady in June of 2017. Piper has just graduated high school and Mary Beth has recently graduated college and plans to go on to medical school. However, their plans suddenly change when Mary Beth spots a strange trespasser dressed in 50's clothes on the Painted Lady's yard only to have him disappear into the basement moments later. Mark Ryan also lives in the Painted Lady, but in 1959. A strange letter penned by Percival Bell combined with some strange rocks leads him to a hidden door in his basement and opens up onto Mary Beth's lawn in 2017.

​Having read a previous book in the American Journey series, I was ready for a unique, fast-paced time travel experience that would completely immerse me in 1959-and that is exactly what I got. The action started immediately as Mark decided just to dive right in and try out the time travel passage after finding a letter penned by Percival Bell. I was really surprised about his tenacity and spontaneity with traveling through time; however, Mark did use his brain and tried out a few short trips to figure out just how everything worked. The immediate pairing of Mark and Mary Beth and Ben and Piper is quite obvious, but awfully cute as the girls are treated to the world of dating in the ‘50s and the boys are treated to independent women of 2017. I enjoyed reading about 1950’s California, Las Vegas and Piper’s high school experience: the friendships, the cars and the dances were amazing. There is a little bit of tension brought into the story through a sports book that Mary Beth brought from 2017, there are hints that this will cause trouble later, but it completely changes what I thought would happen. I am always amazed at how everything can be wrapped up without too much change to the past or present, and it seems that Mark, Marybeth, Piper and Ben all got what they wanted but in a different way than they thought. I did want to know what happened to some of the friends that everyone had in 1959, especially because they would still be alive in 2017. Overall, an enjoyable time travel romance with a bit of drama and a lot of heart.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Nov 28, 2016 |
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