Time Travelling With a Hamster
Generally we publish our book reviews closer to the release date of the actual book in the US where we are based, but “Time Travelling With a Hamster” by Ross Welford is an exception. It officially releases on March 31st, so if you don’t live in the UK or Australia or don’t feel like getting it on your Kindle, then you’ll have to wait until then. (or maybe give time travel a shot?) If you are in the UK or somewhere else that you’re able to get your hands on a copy of the book or are a Kindle reader, you can grab a copy now! (Which we highly recommend you do.)
The first thing that pulled us into this book was the title and the cover. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to read a book called “Time Travelling with a Hamster”? The cover is really intriguing, and we just had to know more. Al Chaudhury’s dad died twice. Once when he was 39 and once again four years later when he was 12 (which was definitely Al’s fault.) On his 12th birthday, Al receives a mysterious letter from his late-father asking him to find the time machine he built and left in the basement bunker of their old house, go back in time, and hopefully prevent his death. Al also gets a pet hamster for his 12th birthday from his mom, which his stepdad names Alan Shearer, after a famous (now retired) soccer player.
As you can probably imagine, it’s not exactly easy for a 12 year old to sneak out of the house, make his way to a few towns over, break into a house that no longer belongs to his family, and make sense of a time machine that wasn’t all that well built in the first place – all while trying not to lose his hamster. The story is a little slow to start as we meet Al, his brilliant Grandpa Byron, and the rest of Al’s family, but from the moment Al sneaks out of his house for the first time all the way to the final page, it’s non-stop, fast-paced action that’ll keep you turning the pages. Will someone catch on that he’s from the future? Will the time machine work? Can he get back from 1984? Will he be able to prevent the go-karting accident that was the cause of his father’s death (Twice!)? Will Alan Shearer make it back in one piece? We don’t really want to give too much away since it’s really such a fun read, but we’ll tell you this – it’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, and you definitely won’t be able to put it down.
The book isn’t all fun and time travel and hamsters, though. There’s definitely some really sad and darker bits that deal with change, death, bullying, and loneliness. All in all though, it’s a really great story and it will definitely make you want to give your family a big ol’ hug once you’ve reached the end. Ross Welford definitely takes us all on an exciting ride through some of the harder parts of growing up, mixed in with an charming story about time travel.