Book Cover for Timeless by Rachel SpanglerI love books that make me think and stories that make me feel. This one does both asking us to reassess our own behaviour around high school bullying.

“Timeless” is unusual. It is a sweet romantic tale of a girl going home to find that thing she didn’t know she wanted was there all the time. But it is much more than a simple romance and the twist in the plot will surprise you.

Like Spangler’s earlier novel set in Darlington, ”The Long Way Home”, this is partly a tale about how small-town America and high school experiences shape our lives, those of us who have run away and those who choose to stand and fight. It is also a story about how good people give up their own dreams to protect others who are different.

“Timeless” should make us stop and think; cause us to reassess our own behaviour as teenagers who kept silent as well as those who were guilty of bullying. It should also make us look at the adults we’ve become and consider whether we could be doing more to protect those more vulnerable than ourselves.

Ms Spangler’s characters are always deep and multidimensional. Here we get a unique opportunity to see how they develop. From student-teacher Jody, trying to find her way, and Stevie, the closeted intellectual who can’t wait to escape, to the wonderfully drawn ‘other’ Kelsey Patel, we see inside their hopes and fears. We are shown how popularity can lead to abuse of power while obscurity can bury us under fear and despair.

More than anything “Timeless” made me think about the choices we have made and the people we’ve become. This is a story about how much our teenage decision-making has impacted our lives – forced us away from being everything we could have been. It is an exploration of how bullying can make us live our lives in fear – those bullied and those who stand by and do nothing.

I love books that make me think and stories that make me feel. This one does both. I really enjoyed Ms Spangler’s earlier novels, particularly “The Long Way Home”, but “Timeless” is at a different level. Rachel Spangler goes from strength to strength and I look forward to following her growing talent.