Class of 59 starts off with a bang, and I’m instantly interested in where this is going. The first thing we learn is that Mary Beth’s fiance dies in tragic circumstances, leaving Mary Beth devastated. Then the main characters sisters Mary Beth and Piper (from 2017), and brothers Mark and Ben (who are from 1959) discover a secret passage in the house where they live/are staying on vacation which allows them to time travel between 1959 and 2017. A quick trip to Vegas and fueled by Piper’s desire to spend more time in 1959 and see what high school is like in the 1950s, so they stay. But Mary Beth makes a mistake on the trip to Las Vegas that could put them all in danger.
I would like to have seen Mary Beth struggle more with her feelings for Mark, given the tragic circumstances around her fiance’s recent death, but she seems more concerned with the fact that the relationship is temporary. Instead it seems to be that the character of Mark struggles with their relationship the most, but even then, I found their interactions a bit stale and comfortable. This is most apparent in the line “Despite his obvious interest in the time traveler from Huntsville, Alabama, he was not yet comfortable demonstrating that interest in an affectionate way.”
However in saying that had the relationship between Mary Beth and Mark not been this way, I don’t think Piper and Ben’s relationship would have worked as well. It’s realistic, tumultuous and at times quite humorous. Despite the fact that I was reading the book and knowing it had to end at some point I actually found myself hoping they would find a solution to their problem and could stay together. I like the relationship between Ben and Piper best.
I have to say the ending was not what I expected and although it made sense, I almost feel it was a little rushed, but it did tie the story together nicely. The story has a fantastic flow, and apart from the ending, was paced well with action in what I felt were exactly the right places.
Overall I found it to be a sentimental story which eloquently points out both the beauty and disadvantages of living in the 1950s, and does the same for present day. It’s a great comparison of then verses now and I feel that Heldt has put a lot of time and effort into researching the time period to make it feel quite authentic.
Would I recommend reading it? Absolutely.
Link to purchase: Class of ’59 by John A. Heldt.
Genre: Science Ficton/Romance
(BookWorm conducting the review: Rachel)