No Time Like Now
Published February 6, 2024
About No Time Like Now
A teen finds himself in a race against time when he learns he’s given away more years than he has left to live in this thought-provoking speculative romp.
It’s been one year since Hazeem’s father passed away unexpectedly, and one year since Hazeem got his special ability: He can grant any living thing extra time. Since then, he’s been randomly granting people more years to live: his old friend Holly, his study buddy Yamany, his crush Jack. . . . The only problem is, none of them wanted to spend any of that time with Hazeem.
Now, Hazeem spends most of his days with his grandmother. When she experiences a heart attack, Hazeem is quick to use his power to save her–until Time themself appears and tells Hazeem he has accrued a time debt, having given away more life than he has left to live and putting the entire timeline in serious danger of collapse. In order to save the timeline and himself, Hazeem must take back some of the life he has granted other people. Suddenly, Hazeem is on a journey through and against time, but as he confronts the events of the past, he must confront the mistakes he made along the way. Hazeem will come to realize that when it comes to time, quality is more important to quantity–but is it too late to reclaim the life he’s given away so he can really start living?
NO TIME LIKE NOW is a timely twist on A CHRISTMAS CAROL that takes readers on a thought-provoking adventure, asking what matters most in life.
I really like the concept of this book. I think I imagined something a little bit different based on the cover copy, though. Like, I thought maybe we were going to see him giving away bits of his time here and there before the crisis point. Instead, what happens is that he has given away twenty-two years of his life three times, in three different instances. Early in the book, he tries to do this a fourth time, which puts him in arrears. Now, he has to decide who he will take his life back from so that he doesn’t break the whole universe.
Some parts of the book were cute and unexpected. Hazeem is super close to his pet…. hamster. Yup! You read that right. Haha. He imagines conversations between him and the hamster, which is kind of a sweet way to show us the depth of his loneliness without being too grim.
He is a lonely guy, though. As Time drags him back through his past to help him make his decision about whom to take his life back from, Hazeem walks readers through the disastrous mistakes he’s made that cost him some of the relationships he considers most precious.
Conceptually, I thought this was really cool. Practically, though, I found it hard that none of his friends considered the grief or suffering he’d endured when his dad passed away. There was very little nuance to the friend breakups in two of the cases. The offended party felt offended and, therefore, terminated the friendship. I found myself wishing those relationships had more layers or complexity.
Conceptually, the story is really cool, even if the pacing and some of the characters’ relationships proved a bit challenging to me. There are some sweet scenes between Hazeem and a few people he desperately needs guidance from. There is some exploration of grief and sorrow and what it’s like to get stuck in your grief. Those elements are pretty cool. Plus, again, imaginary hamster conversations. I think fans of Kutub’s debut will like the blend of magic and (time) travel in this novel.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Hazeem and his family are Asian American and Muslim. Diverse minor characters.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.
Kissing between two boys.
Hazeem gifts three people twenty-two years of his life each. A personified version of Time visits him and tells him he must choose someone to take time back from, or the universe will be destroyed.
References to reading the Koran.
Three scenes show someone dying. One falls from a fatal height. Another dies in a car crash. A third dies of an unspecified medical condition, maybe a heart attack. There are also references to Hazeem’s dad’s death.
Hazeem attends a party where kids drink alcohol. He and a friend drink, too.
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