By Marisa Rodriguez, School-Age and Teen Services Outreach Coordinator
It’s a familiar storyline. An alarm goes off, a new day begins, yet everything feels eerily familiar. Then comes a sudden realization – today is somehow yesterday all over again! The pattern repeats, often requiring the protagonist to figure out how to free themselves from an incessant loop and, maybe, change the past in the process. This plot device, called a time loop, is frequently used in films, television shows and literature - the 1993 film “Groundhog Day” being a classic example.
There are many reasons why time loops strike such a cord with viewers and readers. We all have instances in our past where we wish we could go back and do things differently. Unfortunately, we haven’t figured out a way to do that yet, so we will just have to live vicariously through these books that explore time loops and what might happen if we had the chance to change the past.
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Samantha Kingston expects Feb. 12, or Cupid’s Day, to be a day of valentines and celebration, just like it has been every year. Instead, it becomes the day she dies in a tragic car accident. And yet, the next morning Samantha wakes to realize it’s Feb. 12 all over again. What will Samantha do differently each time she relives her last day
- A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Ellie is having an extremely bad Monday – she runs a red light, takes an awful school picture, neither her softball tryouts nor her class election speech goes as she hopes, and her boyfriend breaks up with her. Can it get any worse? When Ellie wakes up the next morning and realizes that it’s Monday again, she sets out to prevent disaster from striking. Can Ellie set the day right or will she be stuck reliving her bad day forever?
- The Loop by Ben Oliver
Sixteen-year-old Luka Kane has been serving a death sentence inside The Loop, a repetitive purgatory for teens, for two years. The prisoners are subjected to a torturous routine, but it is suddenly disrupted when chaos ensues beyond the prison walls. With everything going on outside, Luka is left wondering whether he’s better off inside The Loop after all.
- Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds
It’s the classic romance story: Jack and Kate meet, stay up all night talking and fall in love. Everything has fallen perfectly into place, but then tragedy strikes and Kate dies. However the story does not end there – Kate’s death sends Jack back to the first moment they met, causing him to question both his sanity and whether time travel exists. Is this actually happening, and if so, can Jack do anything to prevent Kate’s death?
- Time Travel for Love and Profit by Sarah Lariviere
Fourteen-year-old Nephele sets out to invent time travel, go back in time and figure out how to become popular. And to her surprise, her invention works – except it sends her on a repetitious loop where she is the only one looping. Now ten repeated freshman years in, she has finally figured out two things: how to make a friend and how to get out of the time loop she’s created, leaving her to decide whether she wants to leave the loop or not.