The follow-up to the well-received time-slip adventure Time after Time, Stand By Me again stars best-friends turned stepsisters Molly and Beth and sends them time-travelling once more. Whereas in their first adventure the girls found themselves transported back into the 1980s, this time they are going further back in time. They want to put right a sadness in their kindly great-uncle’s life by finding out what happened to cause it, and that means a trip to the 1960s.
While there are some excellent jokes at the girls’ expense as they grapple with the peculiarities of a time that seems a million light years away from where we are now, it’s not really the time travel element that is the biggest concern for Judi Curtin, rather it’s the opportunities it provides to examine a relationship and emotions that have developed over time. Uncle Graham loved a girl he knew as a young teenager but has long believed that he was responsible for an accident that changed her life. His own has been limited as a result. Going back in time allows him to discover what really happened, and therefore to change his future.
Judi Curtin is at her best when writing about feelings and relationships. She does so with a delicacy and sensitivity, an unforced warmth, and a real understanding both of young people and family dynamics. Beth and Molly are strong individuals, but as a duo their different personalities allow them to be the best they can be. Funny and moving, this is a really rewarding read.