Time tends to fly when you’re reading a good book. You might think to yourself, “I just got this delightful book! I’ll just read the first chapter before bed.” Then all of a sudden, the book is done and it’s 3 in the morning. Books have a way of messing with time like that. But what about books about time?
I grew up on science fiction. My parents still aren’t quite sure how I managed that, as neither of them were huge fans of the genre. I credit the local library mostly. My library had a great selection of middle grade science fiction books. I read everything from books about aliens to clones to time travel. Time-related shenanigans in books can make for quite the adventure, and a lot of middle grade books are about time loops.
This is a classic trope, so it only makes sense that it become a favorite in middle grade books! That being said, there are very few books about time loops by authors of color for a younger demographic. While the broader world of science fiction/fantasy is getting better, there’s still a long way to go! There’s a lot to learn about the future of science fiction, and we can all work together to demand more of the publishing industry.
If you have (or are!) a young science fiction fan in your life, here are eight middle grade books about time loops that you can pass along.
The Retake by Jen Calonita
Zoe is just trying to make it through middle school. But school and friendships are hard to navigate, and Zoe feels like she’s losing her best friend. That is, until one day she finds an app on her phone that lets her redo moments preserved on social media and try to make it right this time. Does Zoe have what it takes to go back and save her friendship?
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Today is Amanda’s 11th birthday and she can’t wait! But soon everything that could go wrong does. Her best friend Leo isn’t spending the day together like they always have because of an argument. Determined to just get the day over with, Amanda goes to bed. However, the next day she realizes it’s her birthday all over again! What does it mean? How can she make it stop? These are all the questions floating through Amanda’s head as she does her best to make it out of the time loop.
Secrets of Valhalla by Jasmine Richards
When two best friends find the weatherwoman inside of a tree, they think the day can’t get any weirder. Turns out the weirdness has just begun. Buzz and Mary quickly realize that their local weatherwoman is actually Sunna the Norse goddess of the sun. Soon, they realize that their whole town is caught in a time loop, doomed to live the same Saturday over and over again unless Buzz and Mary can find a way to stop it. Together they venture to awaken the other gods of the week to get time going again before Loki can cause more mischief!
Odessa Again by Dana Reinhardt
Odessa is having a bad time. Her dad is getting married again (and not to her mom), they’ve just moved, and she has to live in the attic. One day, she gets so angry that she stomps across her floor and something magic happens. She’s gone back in time a full day! With this newfound power over time Odessa is determined to make it all better, but most of all, she’s determined to get her parents back together.
Paris on Repeat by Amy Bearce
When Eve’s 8th grade class gets to take a trip to Paris, Eve has one goal: let her crush know how she feels. But things don’t go as planned, and Eve ends up having the worst day of her whole life. She’s ready for it to be over, but the next day to her surprise she finds herself living the same day again! Unless she figures out how to stop this from happening, she’s doomed to live the worst day of her life over and over again!
The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone
Haleigh wishes that the last day of summer would last forever, and she might just get her wish. When she finds a mysterious pair of paints in her backpack, she decides to paint her last day of summer. When she wakes up, she realizes that the day has restarted! It’s still summer! At first, she’s so happy, until she realizes that there are some pretty major consequences to living the same day forever! Now Haleigh and her new friend Kevin must figure out how to restart time, and come to terms with growing up.
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time by Akira Himekawa
Link is on a mission! He needs to get the emerald, a spiritual stone, to the princess of Hyrule Zelda. The journey is long and treacherous. Luckily, The Ocarina can help Link travel in time and even make time loops to help him on his adventure! But even with his magic, can the forces of evil stop him before he gets the emerald to the Princess?
The Lost Track of Time by Paige Britt
Penelope dreams of being a writer, but time is running out, and her mom already has her whole life scheduled down to the minute. Soon, Penelope finds something magical! A whole day that’s unscheduled! The day pulls her into a world where time is a little weird and she must battle her way through the evil Chronos to get back to her normal life. But maybe along the way she’ll find out that it isn’t time that matters, it’s the people you spend it with.
With so many good books to read, you might want your own time loop so you have enough time to finish them all! You might also like these 25 Universe-Expanding Science Fiction Books for Kids and 20 Of The Best Time Travel Books.