Time travel has been a popular subject of fiction since The Time Machine by H.G. Wells was published in 1895. Over a century later, it still captures the imagination of many readers. The mix of philosophy and theoretical physics allows for endless combinations to explore parallel universes, to go back and forward in time, and is an especially great backdrop for both adventure and star-crossed love.
There is no shortage of time travel stories in young adult fiction. With so many great time travel novels coming out this year, it’s a great time to some time bending novels to your “to read” list. You won’t even need to build a time machine to read most of these right now!
If you like your time travel with a time-crossed romance
Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
Cassandra’s summer takes a strange turn when she meets a stranger who claims her family’s beach house belongs to him and that the year is 1925. As Cassandra tries to solve the mystery of Lawrence’s appearance she will also have to try to find a way to change history if the two hope to have any kind of future together.
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Gwyneth Shepherd’s cousin has been preparing to time travel for her entire life. Until both girls find out that it’s Gwyneth, not Charlotte, who carries the rare time travel gene.
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
Something strange is happening in Natalie’s hometown. Little things at first like her front door being green instead of red. Then a strange apparition Natalie calls “Grandmother” appears and tells he she has three months to save a boy she hasn’t met yet.
Return Once More by Trisha Leigh
Kaia is an apprentice with The Historians–a group of time travelers who observe and record history. Kaia doesn’t see the harm in catching a glimpse of her long-dead soulmate in Ancient Egypt but that one search sets off a series of events that will leave Kaia scrambling to save her future.
Timeless by Alexandra Monir
After her parents’ death Michele is sent across the country to live with her grandparents in New York and finds a diary that transports her to 1910 where she meets a blue-eyed stranger who has haunted her dreams for as long as she can remember.
Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
Hope will have to learn how to conquer her fears before she can try to work with a group of time travelers to save her mother who is trapped in 12th Century England.
If you you want high stakes adventures across time
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Traveling across centuries and around the world, Etta and Nicholas will have to trust each other as they hunt down a long-lost artifact and uncover a truth that could threaten their natural times and everything in between.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Determined to get revenge for her father’s murder and the theft of his universe-crossing device, Marguerite embarks on a multi-universal hunt for Paul. The closer Marguerite gets to Paul, the more she begins to wonder if he really is the villain she thought.
The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove
Nearly a century ago the Great Disruption remade the world and threw all of the continents into different Ages. When her renowned mapmaker uncle is kidnapped, Sophia Tims will have to travel across Ages to rescue him.
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Nix Song has spent all of her sixteen years watching her father, Slate, use historical and mythical maps to travel to distant lands and times most people can only imagine. Slate’s quest to return to a time and place where Nix’s mother is still alive has driven him to desperate acts before. When the promise of another map surfaces, Nix will have to decide how far she is willing to go to help Slate this time.
Erasing Time by C. J. Hill
Twins Taylor and Sheridan wake up 400 years in the future to find a world they barely recognize and a totalitarian government that will stop at nothing to find out their secrets.
Wildwing by Emily Whitman
An elevator transports Addy from her dreary life in 1913 London to a castle in 1240 where she is mistaken for royalty.
If you’re looking for some time travelers who have to save the day
Loop by Karen Akins
Bree Bennis lives in the twenty-third century where, because of a special gene mutation, she can travel anywhere in time. After her solo midterm to the twenty-first century goes spectacularly wrong, Bree knows she’s in big trouble. Failing to complete her mission is one thing. Accidentally revealing herself to a boy and sort of taking him hostage? That could get Bree expelled. Or worse.
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Prenna came to New York when she was twelve after immigrating from a disastrous future. In order to try and change that future, Prenna and her community have to follow certain rules: Never reveal where they’re from, never interfere, never get involved with someone outside of the community. The only problem is Prenna might be in love with a boy from the present.
Tempest by Julie Cross
Jackson can travel through time. It’s never been a problem until his girlfriend Holly is fatally shot and Jackson accidentally travels back two years and can’t return to his present to try and save her.
Longbow Girl by Linda Davies
Merry Owen will have to use her archery skills to save her family’s land when she travels to the year 1537 and solve their current financial problems in the present.
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
For the past four years Emerson Cole has seen strange apparitions from the past that seem to be hallucinations. Instead, Emerson learns that she can manipulate time and, with help from the mysterious Michael, she might even be able to prevent a murder that happened six months ago.
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Em and Marina stand on opposite sides in a race to protect time and keep a time machine from ever being built. Only one of them can come out alive.
If you want a book about accidental time travel:
Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren
While fighting off boredom at yet another of their parent’s archaeological sites, sisters Gabi and Lia touch the wrong handprint in an ancient tomb and find themselves transported to 14th Century Italy.
The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
Alex Wayfare is used to getting in trouble because of her visions of the past. Turns out Alex is a Descender able to travel through time by accessing her past lives–all 56 of them.
Shadows Fall Away by Kit Forbes
Mark’s stay with his eccentric, Jack the Ripper obsessed, aunt is cut short when he is struck by lightning and wakes up in 1888. When his knowledge of the Ripper murders single him out as a suspect, Mark decides to try to solve the murders himself to clear his name and return to his own time.
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Cat Crawford definitely doesn’t want an elaborate party for her sixteenth birthday. Instead she welcomes her father and stepmother’s offer of a trip to Italy. The only problem comes when an unusual tent transports her to Renaissance Firenze.
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
After a photo booth camera sends them back in time, four estranged friends will have to relive their summer from two years ago if they want to get back to their present.
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Anna’s world is turned upside down when Bennett–a time traveler–shows up in her perfectly ordered life in 1995 Evanston, Illinois.
If you want a novel about parallel lives/worlds
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
In 1996 best friends Josh and Emma use a free AOL CD to go online for the first time where they get a glimpse of their Facebook pages–and their lives–fifteen years in the future.
Tandem by Anna Jarzab
Thrust into a life that isn’t her own, Sasha has to play the part of a princess in a world that shouldn’t exist if she ever wants a chance to return to her own world.
Planesrunner by Ian McDonald
Everett Singh will have to use the Infundibulum–a map of parallel earths–to travel across worlds to try and rescue his kidnapped scientist father.
Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols
Thrown together by the most unlikely of circumstances, Danny and Eevee will have to work together to get Danny back home to his own universe before time runs out.
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Caroline can stay at her grandmother’s side in the hospital waiting for the worse. Or she can go to a party and try to forget for a little while. One decision might bring closure and one might bring something unexpected. But only one is the right choice.
Pivot Point by Kasie West
At a crossroad that will change everything, Addie will have to user her psychic ability to live both outcomes for every decision she makes to decide what she is willing to live through and who she is willing to lose.
If you want to test out your own time machine, you can check out these books later this year
Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs
Everything goes wrong when Elena and her team look into their own fates on a routine data gathering mission in the future. With only 24 hours left to get back to the present can Elena save her team and the future?
Two Summers by Aimee Friedman
What happens if Summer Everett picks up her phone and stays home all summer? What if she doesn’t answer and ends up on her planned trip to France? In both summers there will be first love and self-discovery. But how will a shocking family secret play out in each parallel world?
It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble
Emma and Charlie haven’t aged for a hundred years. Seventeen forever, the two should have a perfect romance. But dangerous forces have kept the two apart until a series of murders suggest that Emmamight have the chance to find the threat–and her lost love–at last.
The Square Root of Summer by Harrier Reuter Hapgood
Gottie H. Oppenheimer begins traveling back to key moments in her past through wormholes opening around her small seaside town. She returns to moments of first love and regret while she struggles with the loss of her grandfather in the present. When two boys from her past return, Gottie will have to confront her past–and her future–head on.
— Emma Carbone, currently reading The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski