Time Writer (paperback)

Dani Camarena

Twelve-year-old author-in-training and gadget-making enthusiast, Issy Garcia, dreams of bringing her steampunk inventions to life. If only she could convince her scientist parents to share space with her in their backyard barn lab. But they won’t let Issy near their precious “real science” experiments. That is until they end up stuck in one.

When a mysterious storm hovers over her family’s new home in Cornville, Arizona, and rogue lightning streaks through the house, Issy’s parents go missing. In the hunt for answers, she discovers Mamá and Papá stuck inside her latest story’s world and the truth of their experiments – tachyons and time study. Clues and ingenuity lead to her parents’ trail, landing Issy in an alternate 1886 New York City filled with bizarre costumes, steam-powered machines, and automatons.

Convinced her writing created this mess, Issy is determined to rescue her parents and shut down the time loop. Not an easy task with Time Pirates hunting her for unknown reasons. She must navigate the streets of New York with clever street orphan Mekasha and calculate a way to get everyone back home. Or be lost to her family forever, trapped in a world of steam and odd tech.



  1. Reviewed by Readers’ Favorite

    Time Writer by Dani Camarena is an incredible adventure through time. Isadora has big dreams as an aspiring young author creating worlds and steampunk inventions. She’s determined to prove to her parents that she has what it takes to work in their lab where they conduct experiments they won’t let her near. When one of their experiments works, her parents disappear. Desperate to find them, Isadora embarks on her own adventure where she befriends an unlikely ally, travels through time, runs from Time Pirates, and discovers the alternate world of her dreams with steam-powered machines and clockwork creations.

    This is a stunning foray into the steampunk genre, serving as a great introduction for children. The story establishes the tone cleverly with an opening scene containing looming thunderstorms. Incorporating the storms into the setting helps to create an atmosphere perfect for the experiments of two scientists. Dani Camarena incorporates several references as a way to provide hints about the genre such as The Time Machine, Madeleine L’Engle, and Jules Verne. These references are a great way to introduce classic works within the science fiction genre to children today. Isadora will inspire children, specifically girls, by showing them that you can enjoy activities such as writing stories, exploring science, or inventing things. The world details are so much fun with clockwork creations like a butterfly that has a presence strong enough to serve as another character and a beast (mechanical dog) named Fred.

    Isadora’s adventure to return home is set against an epic steampunk-based world with a time travel flair that is fun and engaging. During her journey, she meets a friend named Mekasha who helps her navigate her new world and takes her to someone that can help her. This friendship adds heart to her adventure and helps fill the void in her life so that she doesn’t feel alone. The details add so much to the world such as the Professor dimming the lantern to a firefly’s glow, blood draining like a sheet of ice drawn over her body, and barrel-rolled over the side. These details fit within the steampunk attitude with visuals that help bring Camarena’s world to life. Time Writer is highly recommended with a steampunk plot, great female lead, and humorous style.

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