So I don’t know about you but I LOVE the movie Groundhog Day.
If you’ve never seen it, it’s about a Pittsburgh weatherman named Phil Connors. He is forced to cover the emergence of Punxsutawney Phil, and while there, a blizzard traps him and his huge ego (along with his lovely producer and zany cameraman) for another night. When he wakes up the next morning, though, it’s Groundhog Day. Again. And Again.
No matter what Phil does, he can’t seem to break the cycle. It takes a complete change in personality before he is finally free. The kicker? In an email , director Harold Ramis says that he thinks Phil was in the time loop for 30 or 40 years!
The time loop is a great sci-fi plot device: What if you had a second chance to make things right? Here (in no particular order) are some tween and teen titles with characters experiencing time loops:
Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde: Giannine gets a gift card for a virtual reality arcade for her birthday. While her brain is hooked up to the game, however, she finds out there’s a glitch. She can’t escape without winning the game. She has only a limited number of ‘lives’ to win the game. If she doesn’t win, she dies – in real life!
Rewind by William Sleator: Peter, who is hit by a car, gets three chances to do life over and prevent his own death.
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass: Amanda and Leo have always celebrated their birthdays together – until this year. Amanda’s 11th birthday isn’t the way she wanted it to be – and now she and Leo have to fix their friendship, or stay trapped in their 11th birthday forever!
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: Super-fabulous Samantha has it made – until she dies. She’s given seven chances to make things right, and in so doing her entire world changes.
Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski: high school senior Devi’s life is a total mess. Everything’s going wrong. After dropping her cell phone in the fountain at the mall, it only calls one number – a direct line to her 14-year old self! Can she give herself enough advice to make her life as amazing as it should be?
Do-Over by Christine Hurley Deriso: after dreaming of her deceased mother, Elsa gains the power to travel back in time 10 seconds! With the time to fix mistakes and remove the foot from her mouth, she quickly becomes one of the It girls, but is it everything it’s cracked up to be?
Is your favorite on the list? What do you think of the time loop? Contrived, or brilliant? How long do you think Phil was in the time loop? Did he even like sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist? Let us know what you think!
Robyn E. Vittek – just finished reading Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons