By: Veronica R. Tabares
Publisher: Sun Break Publishing
Publication Date: January 2020
Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott
Review Date: March 2020
Two daring preteen girls from the present join forces with a handsome geek from the 3000s to correct the timeline that caused their father’s death and allowed the world to be dominated by men in this lively fantasy by award-winning writer Veronica R. Tabares.
The story really begins in 1920, though only Vanessa, the mother in the Rossi household, seems to realize that time has shifted. She has been endowed with the vision to see their former circumstances – a happy family with a loving father, Tony, and several strong-minded daughters – and to know that their new “present” is just wrong – no computers, no phones, not even a TV – “nothing twenty-first century about it.” And she has been embedded with the knowledge of time travel. She and her daughters Becca and Maddie learn, through a quick jaunt into the future, that unless something is done to change things radically, women will be almost eliminated from the planet. Correcting that inequity and the chance to get Tony back will spur them to navigate through time.
But to make any real difference, they will need to collaborate with Philip, the very bumbling fool from the future who inadvertently caused Tony’s demise. Philip is an expert in time travel, if in little else, and they need his help, though the girls still feel hatred toward him. When Vanessa finds out that Maddie and Becca have suddenly also acquired time vision and have a real plan for altering things in 1920 to wipe out the ugly future, she cuts their hair, puts them in boy’s clothing for their own protection, and sends them off with Philip to hobo their way to Nashville, Tennessee. There a crucial vote is soon to take place, with women’s suffrage hanging in the balance.
Tabares has created a crazy ride, not just by boxcars in the 1920s, but through the past and future, her vibrant panorama of events heralding the centennial in 2020 of American women’s right to vote. The two teens are forceful, funny, and sneaky when they need to be, making this a rich read for young adults. And the author has clearly done careful research on the events of that critical Tennessee vote - it being the 36th state to ratify – or not - the suffrage amendment - so older readers will appreciate her treatment of historical fact. She has also devised a devious villain, someone with power to deny women’s suffrage, fueled by his frustration at having learned, through Philip’s ill-timed blunders, that Vanessa’s daughters will one day be credited with the invention of time travel, a distinction he is determined to gain for himself. Balancing these minute-to-minute changes are the gradual changes in the teens, who are growing up as they learn to cope with intrigue, politics, social issues and a strange but still quite human visitor from the future. Tabares is a screenwriter and one can easily envision the cinematic possibilities of this history laden, girl-and-woman-themed, rollicking, action-filled adventure.
Quill says: True Story of the Perfect 36 is an action-packed melting pot of near misses, might-have-beens, time travel glitches, thwarted planetary disasters and coming of age revelations that make for an engaging read.
For more information on True Story of the Perfect 36 please visit the author's website at: veronicatabares.com