When Mary Beth McIntire settles into a vacation house on June 2, 2017, she anticipates a quiet morning with coffee. Then she hears a noise, peers out a window, and spots a man in 1950s attire standing in the backyard. She panics when the trespasser sees her and enters the house though a door to the basement. She questions her sanity when she cannot find him.
In the same house on March 21, 1959, Mark Ryan finds a letter. Written by the mansion's original owner in 1900, the letter describes a basement chamber, mysterious crystals, and a formula for time travel. Driven by curiosity, Mark tests the formula twice. On his second trip to 2017, he encounters a beautiful stranger. He meets the woman in the window.
Within hours, Mary Beth and Mark share their secret with her sister and his brother and begin a journey that takes them from the present day to the age of sock hops, drive-ins, and jukeboxes. In Class of '59, the fourth book in the American Journey series, four young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they navigate the corridors of time and experience Southern California in its storied prime.
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.
This is the first time I've read/listened by John Heldt. It won't be the last enjoyed this very much. This may be part of a series, but this can stand alone.
The narrator brought the story to life.
This Audiobook was given to me for free at my request from the publisher, author or narrator and I provided this unbiased voluntary review.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Action-packed, Easy-to-read, Entertaining, Great world building Happily Ever After, Original, Page-turner, Romantic, Unpredictable, Whimsical, Witty, Wonderful characters.
Class of '59, by John Heldt, is book 4 in his American Journey series. As I've found with Mr. Heldt's other time travel novels, the books are a bit hard for me to get into as I've found them a smidge slow to start. Quickly enough though (within the first hour or so), I find myself being totally swept up in the story and enjoying the subtle and not-so-subtle (Marilyn Monroe, etc.) references to the past. The sisters, Mary Beth and Piper were both likable characters and the brothers (Mark and Ben) were as well.
Patrice Gambardella did a decent job with the narration. I heard a few editing errors, but nothing that was super distracting. She read the part well, though quite dryly and without much emotion. Not sure if that was on purpose or not. The story was so entertaining that I was more focused on that anyways, to be honest.
I'd recommend this book if you want a nice, easy romantic time travel listen, without any hot and heavy sex scenes. It's a book that will take you back to the late fifties and a time of innocence. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher for an honest review.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom.
I've listened to many of John A Heldt's books,but this it the first narrated by Patrice Gambardella. Overall, the story was good and the performance was not the best I've heard, but I was still able to listen to it.
For the girls to go back to 1959 and be in Los Angeles, you got to hear about the movie stars who are no longer with us and how innocent that time was compared to 2017.
Sometimes, I'm quite surprised about how accepting time travel is with these characters, not just Joh Heldt's books, but overall, it makes me chuckle.
I did enjoy the story and look forward to more.
I really enjoyed this time travel tale. It was mysterious and loving while keeping my attention. I know myself, I have definitely had that time that I wish I could go back, or better yet forward to see what the future holds. The characters in this story had that chance. 2017 is quite different from 1959 and the author does a great job showing this because there were no cell phones or internet. However, what the author does quite well is show us how these times can also be somewhat the same. Young love has always been there. A mysterious note and a choice to follow the instructions... are you hooked yet? Definitely give this one a try, I was hesitant but it will either be a trip back in time for some, or a history lesson of what life was like. The performance was done well and helped bring the author's words to life. This was my first performance by this narrator and I would definitely try another title performed by her. Her tone was good and helped give the scene just a little something. This story made me curious to what my life would have looked like in 1959. I was provided a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review via Audiobook Boom. This in no way affected my opinionof this audiobook.
Any additional comments?
It was a real chore to get through this book. This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom
It's a rainy June day in 2017 as Mary Beth looks out a window in a house where she, her sister, and parents are staying briefly in southern California. Did someone drug her coffee? Or is there really suddenly a guy dressed like something from "American Graffiti" in the yard?
Mark Ryan has his own set of problems. He has found an old letter in a desk that details a way to time travel from 1959 to 2017, and with the letter were included the tools to make that happen. He decides to test the efficacy of the strange crystals that were with the letter, and soon he finds himself in front of his house, but clearly it's a different time, since the woman staring at him in the window is no one he knows and someone he very much would like to know.
Soon Mary Beth, Mark, her sister and his brother are involved in a fun-filled foursome that takes the young women back to 1959, giving them the full experience of high-school life in '50s-era southern California. There's plenty of conflict here, too, as Mary Beth determines to help the group earn some '50s spending money by bringing a history book back in time with her so she can bet on sporting events and other things if necessary. Naturally, the bookie who has to pay out to her when her bet is successful despite nearly astronomical odds isn't happy, and soon his goons are out to get the four.
This was an ok book; I found the dialogue stilted, forced, and artificial in lots of places; it just didn't sound like what you would think a 2017 teenager or even a woman in her early 20s would sound like. I thought the narration was rather disappointing in many respects. Mary Beth is from Alabama, and the narrator slipped in and out of a not-so-great southern accent, forgetting to do it at times, remembering it at others. It's not a deal breaker, but it could have been somewhat better narrated.
The bottom line is the story is great fun, and the author is clearly talented and capable of moving you through the book and keeping you engaged to the back cover.
When two young men from 1959 find a portal to 2017 they strike up friendships from a couple of young ladies from the "future". The couples travel back and forth between the two time periods (although spending most of their time in 1959) and start to fall in love. Can they make this work, when they belong to completely different times?
Despite this being book 4 in the series, I haven't read any of the others. i didn't even know it was in a series when I first got it. There doesn't appear to be a need to have read the others to get this. Maybe there are winks and nods to the other books that I missed, but this book stands on it's own.
Young adult romance is generally not my thing, but the time travel element make me interested enough to pick it up. Sadly I don't feel like that element was used to its best effect.
The majority of the tension of the book comes from this relationship and how, or even if, they can work out how to make relationships work when there is 60 years between their lives. The 'time travel' is really a MacGuffin for the romance, and way to have them drawn apart. The same effect could have been done with having them have lives on the opposite sides of the world, without time travel. But the time travel does have the ability to add a nice twist to it. Sadly I felt there wasn't enough "fish out of water" type stuff with the time travel. There was bits to do with how the '59ers felt about 2017 and vice versa, but it didn't really show it much. Also the 1959 world didn't feel overly different to now. Sure there were changes and differences, but 90% of the conversation, the events etc felt like they were time-neutral. They could have happened in most eras since the 60's and weren't 1959 specific in any way.
Also, when it comes to time travel maybe I've just read too many time travel books or seen too many time travel movies and just know better but the girls from 2017 travelling back in time do some really stupid movies that draw them into danger. So a few things not to do if you discover a portal back 60 years in time:
- don't draw attention to yourself by putting down giant bets
- dont place bets in places that are clearly mobbed up.
- don't leave paper that basically says "I'm from the future" lying around in a place where someone from the mob can find.
- don't flout your money in front of everyone (she is continually handing out $5 notes, which is like someone in 2017 handing out $50's to everyone)
Obviously, all these mistakes draw unwanted attention, which becomes the B-story of the book, which eventually dove tails with the A-story romance. I felt this part of the story was somewhat undercooked.
I will say this though... I don't think I have written a review this long in a while. That says that for all it's faults this book did really engage me.
Narration by Patrice Gambardella was good. Well paced and clear, she provided voices and accents. As some of the characters came from various parts of the USA she gave them corresponding accents to match that. It was an enjoyable and engaging narration.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
Class of '59
: John A. Heldt
This time travel novel features two sets of young adult siblings, one from 1959 the other from 2017. The listener gets to see how younger characters handle the challenges that older characters might face differently. There are adventures, teen drama, romance and of course villains to round things out. I enjoyed this book.
The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed. I loved the voices and accents performed by Patrice Gambardella.
"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."
Any additional comments?
I love John Heldt's time travel series. This one was as good as they all are. The uncomplicated stories are easy to listen to and well written. I miss Chaz Allen but the new narrator was excellent. I would absolutely recommend this book.
I was provided a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review via Audiobook Boom. This in no way affected my opinion of this audiobook.