Combine the thought-provoking time travel of When You Reach Me with the humorous storytelling of Lemony Snicket, and you get a wholly original journey through time, space, and the depths of the human heart.
This is a story of things that are not possible.
It's not possible for Amy to see spirits. (She does.)
It's not possible that Amy and Moo can communicate using only their minds. (They do.)
It's not possible to time-travel. (Yet.)
And it's definitely not possible that witches exist. (Seriously?)
None of these things are possible. (Until now . . .)
An Excerpt fromTwo Girls, a Clock, and a Crooked House
Amy Wood was planning to rob the Everything Store.
You know the kind of store I mean. It’s where you go to get prescriptions, and they also have dog food and Christmas lights and . . . well, everything. Anyhow, at Halloween time they sold these hoodies that looked like butterflies, and Amy planned to steal one.
One Friday afternoon, she hopped onto her bike after school and headed for the store.
It wasn’t an impulse. No one had dared her to do it. She didn’t need a hoodie to keep warm. She didn’t have a disease where she couldn’t help stealing or didn’t know any better.
It was an experiment. She simply wanted to see if she could do it without getting caught. She had an argument with herself as she rode down the street.
“I think I can get away with it,” she said to herself (a parallel-dimension self, visible in her rearview mirror).
“On the other hand,” Self said back, “there’s a strong probability that you will be arrested and sent to prison.”
“I have planned carefully,” she reassured Self.
Amy always planned her experiments carefully. Even last summer’s Ketchup Experiment--which had been a mess and a disaster--had been well planned. The ketchup wasn’t supposed to end up on her mother. But you couldn’t control everything, or it wouldn’t be an experiment, right? Right.
She rolled across the Everything Store parking lot and parked her bike by the door.
Inside, she said “Hi” to the clerk in an offhand, uninterested, ten-year-old kind of way and slipped off down the cosmetics aisle.
“Rbblmmgh,” mumbled the clerk, barely looking up.
Amy’s heart beat fast. She couldn’t decide whether she was thrilled or frightened. Was there a difference?
Focus! she told herself.
She glanced at the big round mirror up in the corner of the ceiling. The clerk, theoretically, could see down every aisle, from everywhere in the store. Fortunately, Amy had planned for this.
She would create a diversion.
The diversion was something she had prepared ahead of time: a plastic sandwich bag full of orange pop and crushed cereal. Now, at the store, she removed it from her pocket, pulled off the twist tie, and dumped the contents onto the floor between the sunglasses and the school supplies.
Then she poked her head around the endcap, waved at the clerk, and politely shouted, “Sir? I think someone threw up in aisle three. It’s really repulsive.”
The clerk--who looked like a stick with a beard--sighed and mumbled, “All right. Thanks, I guess.”
Amy retreated into the painkiller/wound care aisle and waited until she heard the clerk get a mop and a bucket and head for the school supplies. Then she fast-walked halfway across the store to where the hoodies were kept stacked in a plastic tub.
She checked the big round mirror. It was hard to tell what she was looking at, the way everything seemed to bend and recede down a black hole, but it kind of looked like the clerk was bent over, facing away. Good.
Quickly Amy grabbed one of the hoodies and dove into it like you would a swimming pool (it was waaaaay too big), shooting her arms through the sleeves, popping her head out the top, and smoothing the whole thing until the bottom hem hung around her knees. Then she walked toward the door, between the shampoo and the greeting cards, just as casual as could be.
Time seemed to slow down. Second by second, she was sure that NOW was the moment the clerk would call out, “Wait a second there, kid!” NOW was the moment his hand would come down on her lawbreaking, butterfly-winged shoulder; NOW was the moment her dark prison journey would begin. . . .
The Crime Experiment was a mistake, she realized (too late).
And sure enough, here came the footsteps behind her.