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Time Will Tell

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A young-adult thriller ricocheting between the bigotry of the past and present as teens unravel their parents’ secrets. Four teens have dug up the time capsule that their parents buried in 1986 and never bothered to recover. But in addition to the expected ephemera of mixtapes, Walkmans, photographs, letters, toys, and assorted junk, Elayah, Liam, Marcie, and Jorja discover A young-adult thriller ricocheting between the bigotry of the past and present as teens unravel their parents’ secrets. Four teens have dug up the time capsule that their parents buried in 1986 and never bothered to recover. But in addition to the expected ephemera of mixtapes, Walkmans, photographs, letters, toys, and assorted junk, Elayah, Liam, Marcie, and Jorja discover something sinister: a hunting knife stained with blood and wrapped with a note. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to kill anyone." As the action alternates between the present day and 1986, the mystery unfolds and the sins of the past echo into today. The teens haven't just unearthed a time capsule: they've also dug up pain and secrets that someone--maybe one of their own parents--is willing to kill for.


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A young-adult thriller ricocheting between the bigotry of the past and present as teens unravel their parents’ secrets. Four teens have dug up the time capsule that their parents buried in 1986 and never bothered to recover. But in addition to the expected ephemera of mixtapes, Walkmans, photographs, letters, toys, and assorted junk, Elayah, Liam, Marcie, and Jorja discover A young-adult thriller ricocheting between the bigotry of the past and present as teens unravel their parents’ secrets. Four teens have dug up the time capsule that their parents buried in 1986 and never bothered to recover. But in addition to the expected ephemera of mixtapes, Walkmans, photographs, letters, toys, and assorted junk, Elayah, Liam, Marcie, and Jorja discover something sinister: a hunting knife stained with blood and wrapped with a note. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to kill anyone." As the action alternates between the present day and 1986, the mystery unfolds and the sins of the past echo into today. The teens haven't just unearthed a time capsule: they've also dug up pain and secrets that someone--maybe one of their own parents--is willing to kill for.

30 review for Time Will Tell

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    2.5 stars I have to say, I thought this would be better. The blurb sounded good, with a mystery spanning thirty five years and involving the teens now and their parents who were teens in the eighties. I found the pacing very slow and thought there weren't many exciting scenes or twists to keep me interested. I also had a difficult time keeping track of who's parent was who because the teens just called their parents 'mom' and 'dad' so I wasn't sure until three quarters through which guy Kim got w 2.5 stars I have to say, I thought this would be better. The blurb sounded good, with a mystery spanning thirty five years and involving the teens now and their parents who were teens in the eighties. I found the pacing very slow and thought there weren't many exciting scenes or twists to keep me interested. I also had a difficult time keeping track of who's parent was who because the teens just called their parents 'mom' and 'dad' so I wasn't sure until three quarters through which guy Kim got with and who Jay was since he changed the name he went by. I will say that I didn't guess the twist so that's a plus. I also didn't think it was a great reveal and was hoping for a bit more. I'm left with some questions about why certain things played out the way they did and thought the story skipped some parts. I felt for the gay teens in the past, it was definitely harder to come out and have people accept you. I can understand why they wanted to keep it a secret and how that led to further problems. Hopefully others like this more than I did and can keep track of everything better. Maybe this would make a better tv show than a book because the visual would help?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: historic prejudice, racist microaggressions, knife violence, home invasion, ableist microaggressions, cheating, off page inappropriate relationship between a student & teacher, mentioned fatal car accident, off page suicide, attempted suicide 3 When a group of friends decide to dig up their parents' time capsule from high school they're really just expecting a good grade for their project and maybe some 80s memorabilia. What they don't expect is a bloody kni I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: historic prejudice, racist microaggressions, knife violence, home invasion, ableist microaggressions, cheating, off page inappropriate relationship between a student & teacher, mentioned fatal car accident, off page suicide, attempted suicide 3 When a group of friends decide to dig up their parents' time capsule from high school they're really just expecting a good grade for their project and maybe some 80s memorabilia. What they don't expect is a bloody knife, and a confession of murder. Their parents, and the police, don't seem to take it seriously, but a prank wouldn't have caused someone to break in to get their evidence back. They know the murder must have been real, but that means it must have been one of the people who put together the time capsule- one of their parents. As a concept I think this is really cool. The idea of a time capsule leading to a covered up murder is a really interesting idea, and as unlikely as the premise is it still sort of reminded me of a Hitchcock type of thriller. And the addition of the parents makes things messy in an interesting way. There's a lot of possessiveness and defensiveness when it comes to one's parents, and a whole lot of fear and betrayal as well. The way the tension leads to infighting in the group and in the family dynamics complicates things in a way that makes it compelling to watch. All in all, when it comes to tension and mystery it has something going for it because of the complicated knot it creates. Giving portions of the past without full context and without allowing us to know for sure which teen was which character's parent made it into a jumble that made you want to solve it. However, I had a lot of trouble with this one. From the beginning I disliked both the writing and the characters. Every character felt like a caricature and so did much of the plot & setting in the 1980s portions. I never believed any of them, I found it hard to care about them or take them seriously, and from the very start the plot relies on you caring about over the top teen drama that has nothing to do with the thriller aspect at all. I plowed through waiting for the thriller to start in earnest, but it took long enough that I was already incredibly sick of all of them. Throughout the dialogue feels unrealistically fake and the writing clunky, but I could have gotten partially over that had the tension started earlier. I also really didn't like the ending. There are a lot of problems with it, but mostly it just felt cheesy. By the end I did care enough to want to know for sure who the killer was, but the ending itself felt like a let down. I'm sure some people will enjoy this book- it does have a cool premise and the mystery element keeps you wanting to find out the answer- but I didn't have an enjoyable reading experience with this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I liked this mystery set in multiple time periods and told from multiple perspectives. Lyga's plot chart must have been insane to keep all the plotlines and perspectives straight! The tale follows one group of kids in the present day as they unearth a time capsule their parents buried during their senior year while jumping back to tell the story of the friends who buried the time capsule. While there is plenty of suspense and I certainly wanted to find out "who done it," I didn't have the connec I liked this mystery set in multiple time periods and told from multiple perspectives. Lyga's plot chart must have been insane to keep all the plotlines and perspectives straight! The tale follows one group of kids in the present day as they unearth a time capsule their parents buried during their senior year while jumping back to tell the story of the friends who buried the time capsule. While there is plenty of suspense and I certainly wanted to find out "who done it," I didn't have the connection with the characters that I have had with characters in other Lyga novels (thus the 3 stars vs higher). Overall, a solid suspense story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wendopolis

    While I enjoyed this book, it frustrated me as well. There were so many characters in the book, and some i only knew as “Mom” or “Dad”, which made it hard to figure out who their kids were and it took too long to know. Also, the author clearly inserted his own political views and bias into the story, which were particularly jarring and obvious, not to mention how they will date the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Wow - just realized this took me threeish weeks to read. I am having a tough time rating it because there are times it really pulled me in and times that it felt difficult to get through. Overall it felt long and while the concept was interesting, I can see where there are going to be several things in the book that readers could find polarizing. The author also played with several different formats (even including some podcast transcripts) and I don’t know if that worked for the story. My most Wow - just realized this took me threeish weeks to read. I am having a tough time rating it because there are times it really pulled me in and times that it felt difficult to get through. Overall it felt long and while the concept was interesting, I can see where there are going to be several things in the book that readers could find polarizing. The author also played with several different formats (even including some podcast transcripts) and I don’t know if that worked for the story. My most accurate rating is probably a 2.5 - for me it was okay but it isn’t in the have to read category.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mya

    I love when you can tell a white, straight author hired sensitivity readers and put in the time to make their Black and queer characters authentic and respectful. Besides that, it's a solid thriller too, with a hopeful ending. I love when you can tell a white, straight author hired sensitivity readers and put in the time to make their Black and queer characters authentic and respectful. Besides that, it's a solid thriller too, with a hopeful ending.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    meh

  8. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Zeman

    I need a sequel…or a follow up. Kept me guessing until the end.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    Feeling the need for a fix of YA reading, I picked up Barry Lyga's new novel, Time Will Tell. The publisher's descriptor, "Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying" sealed the deal. I quite liked the premise - four teenagers dig up a time capsule that their parents buried in 1986. And amidst the retro memorabilia they find a knife with what looks like dried blood along with a note. "I'm sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone." So many places this tale could go! I'm hooked on teen detectives and always w Feeling the need for a fix of YA reading, I picked up Barry Lyga's new novel, Time Will Tell. The publisher's descriptor, "Perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying" sealed the deal. I quite liked the premise - four teenagers dig up a time capsule that their parents buried in 1986. And amidst the retro memorabilia they find a knife with what looks like dried blood along with a note. "I'm sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone." So many places this tale could go! I'm hooked on teen detectives and always wanted to be Nancy Drew. Lyga gives us four great leads, all very different personalities, each with their own strengths - and weaknesses. Liam and Elayah were the two I enjoyed the most and they have a stronger presence than the other two. Lyga's characterization of the teens is spot on in my opinion. The angst and joy of being a teen is very believably portrayed. Now, get those four characters cemented in your brain because...Time Will Tell is told in a past and present narrative! And the past belongs to the parents who buried the capsule. Those past chapters and characters are well portrayed. There's one player that I absolutely despised and it was very easy to draw on my memories of high school and visualize him. So, as the kids in the present are piecing together what may or may not have happened, we slowly begin to build our suspicions as to the whodunit from the clues and avenues in those past chapters. Clever, clever plotting. And some nice twists. I'm an avid mystery reader and Lyga had me guessing to the final pages. Lyga weaves social issues through his plot - racism, sexual orientation, violence, mental health and more. Kudos to Lyga for utilizing sensitivity readers of ethnicities and orientations in his writing. If you're a Nancy Drew or Riverdale watcher, you'll enjoy Time Will Tell.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dcbk

    As a Grad ‘86er this was fun to read. The author did not overly indulge in 80s trivia as some books like this are bound to do so that made it quite enjoyable. It is always interesting to e reminded that we did not always walk around with an Apple 2E X1 billion in our pockets. We had to find payphones, quarters, incommunicado was a real thing, we made mix tapes and all sorts of other fun things we did back then. (FTR i am not a person who idealizes the past and hates all techno advance - i see it As a Grad ‘86er this was fun to read. The author did not overly indulge in 80s trivia as some books like this are bound to do so that made it quite enjoyable. It is always interesting to e reminded that we did not always walk around with an Apple 2E X1 billion in our pockets. We had to find payphones, quarters, incommunicado was a real thing, we made mix tapes and all sorts of other fun things we did back then. (FTR i am not a person who idealizes the past and hates all techno advance - i see it as that was what we worked with then and these are the tools we have now - and quite frankly as a blind person i am way better off now than back then :). It was also fun to see how the kids of the present reacted to the parents and kids in the past. The street in this book also really kept me guessing. I thought to was great that what kid belonged to what parents from the past unfolded as the book progressed. That made the mystery more challenging to figure out. For me the past and present timeline stories really worked in this novel. And i did not figure out who done it right until the very end and lately that is unusual for me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. While I was reading this book, I could not help but think I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Goonies. Four friends find a time capsule filled with nostalgia but there is a note saying I'm sorry for Killing Anyone which is the twist for the century and chaos starts to erupt. Then if that was not enough, they disco This book was received as an ARC from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. While I was reading this book, I could not help but think I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Goonies. Four friends find a time capsule filled with nostalgia but there is a note saying I'm sorry for Killing Anyone which is the twist for the century and chaos starts to erupt. Then if that was not enough, they discover that the person that buried this knife in the time capsule might be linked to one of their parents and they might want something more than meets the eye and are willing to kill for it. Traveling back to 1986 and the present moment at first was a little bit challenging and I was worried that it would be mostly confusing but the structure and language used by Barry Lyga was brilliantly executed. I know our teen book club will have a lot of fun discussing this book for sure. We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I am a big fan of the I Hunt Killers trilogy and I loved the blurb about “I didn’t mean to kill anyone…”, but that was almost the only thing good about this book. The premise of 4 teens unearthing a time capsule their parents buried and finding the mysterious note and knife was great. However, it felt like Lyga was trying to throw all the literary genres/sub genres possible into one novel: suicide, LGBTQ, racism, romance (teen hormones running amuck), murder, COVID-19, and mental illness - just I am a big fan of the I Hunt Killers trilogy and I loved the blurb about “I didn’t mean to kill anyone…”, but that was almost the only thing good about this book. The premise of 4 teens unearthing a time capsule their parents buried and finding the mysterious note and knife was great. However, it felt like Lyga was trying to throw all the literary genres/sub genres possible into one novel: suicide, LGBTQ, racism, romance (teen hormones running amuck), murder, COVID-19, and mental illness - just to name a few. It was too much, too distracting, to try and sort through who was who (as names were held back), deal with all the drama from all the genres/sub genres, and keep the story lines from blurring as you switch back and forth between past and present, as well as being in the minds of multiple characters. Finally, the ending is a bit of a let down, and the epilogue makes more loose ends unravel instead of wrapping them up.

  13. 4 out of 5

    TheNextGenLibrarian

    “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone.” 🔪 Four teens have dug up a time capsule buried by their parents in 1986. Inside are mixtapes, walkmans, photographs…as well as a confession and a knife. Now they’re caught up in a murder mystery decades old as someone does everything they can to keep the kids from finding out the truth. Told in multiple POVs and time periods, this YA thriller will keep readers guessing. 🔪 This was my first Lyga book and his first young adult suspense book. I personally fou “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone.” 🔪 Four teens have dug up a time capsule buried by their parents in 1986. Inside are mixtapes, walkmans, photographs…as well as a confession and a knife. Now they’re caught up in a murder mystery decades old as someone does everything they can to keep the kids from finding out the truth. Told in multiple POVs and time periods, this YA thriller will keep readers guessing. 🔪 This was my first Lyga book and his first young adult suspense book. I personally found it difficult to follow along with. There were way too many POVs and the time jump was a bit disjointed. Also the book was way longer than it should have been. Way too much filler. If you have the time, give this one a read. I’ll definitely try Lyga’s sci-fi at some point. CW: racism, murder, suicide, home invasion, car accident 2.5 ⭐️

  14. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    DNF 60%. Confusing characters, hard to keep track of who was who, especially with the past/present and the parents who were not really mentioned by name in the present timeline. I usually love a podcast aspect to a book/audiobook but here it just didn't really work and those parts tended to come from nowhere. Also really didn't like the mentions to Covid, since I feel like that is unecessary. Very long for being a murder mystery and the pacing was quite slow, especially since you rarely find out an DNF 60%. Confusing characters, hard to keep track of who was who, especially with the past/present and the parents who were not really mentioned by name in the present timeline. I usually love a podcast aspect to a book/audiobook but here it just didn't really work and those parts tended to come from nowhere. Also really didn't like the mentions to Covid, since I feel like that is unecessary. Very long for being a murder mystery and the pacing was quite slow, especially since you rarely find out anything new. Unlikable characters and unrealistic descriptions of sex for instance. If anyone could spoil the ending for me, that would be great!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    I was feeling pretty so-so about this book for the most part: there felt like a lot of filler, some characters seemed inconsequential to the plot while others probably should've gotten POVs but didn't. The TWISTS though! I usually don't like being jerked around but considering the amount of character development and political/societal nuances, some of the red herrings made a little more sense. Man, those last handful of chapters hit like a gd truck. Super glad that Lyga had some sensitivity read I was feeling pretty so-so about this book for the most part: there felt like a lot of filler, some characters seemed inconsequential to the plot while others probably should've gotten POVs but didn't. The TWISTS though! I usually don't like being jerked around but considering the amount of character development and political/societal nuances, some of the red herrings made a little more sense. Man, those last handful of chapters hit like a gd truck. Super glad that Lyga had some sensitivity readers because I don't think the ending would've hit quite so well.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The story is told from the present day in which four teens find mention of a time capsule in an old yearbook and from 1986 when their parents were in high school. The teens find and dig up the time capsule, shocked to discover a blood-stained knife inside and a note stating that the writer didn't mean to kill anyone. The present day teens try to find out what really happened, but their parents aren't very cooperative. The teens know they're onto something serious when one of them is attacked in The story is told from the present day in which four teens find mention of a time capsule in an old yearbook and from 1986 when their parents were in high school. The teens find and dig up the time capsule, shocked to discover a blood-stained knife inside and a note stating that the writer didn't mean to kill anyone. The present day teens try to find out what really happened, but their parents aren't very cooperative. The teens know they're onto something serious when one of them is attacked in her home and one of the other time capsule items is stolen.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Gillian

    This book had more twists and turns than my fave rollercoaster. And I LOVED this book’s ride! I love a multi-POV and especially enjoy a shifting timeline. I felt the past scenes really brought the whole story to life. The big reveal at the end also was a huge shock. I love thrillers because I love trying to solve the crime but with this book, there were so many moving parts and so many twists that I wasn’t able to determine which clues were really just red herrings.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    Okay..............what to say about this one? I have always enjoyed Barry Lyga's book even though I am not the intended targeted audience. But this book had me so confused. I couldn't keep the characters straight and didn't really feel warm and fuzzy about any of them. But I did not expect the twist at the end so the book had that going for it. I would really give it a 2 1/2 stars but because the holiday season in almost upon us, I rounded it up to a three. Okay..............what to say about this one? I have always enjoyed Barry Lyga's book even though I am not the intended targeted audience. But this book had me so confused. I couldn't keep the characters straight and didn't really feel warm and fuzzy about any of them. But I did not expect the twist at the end so the book had that going for it. I would really give it a 2 1/2 stars but because the holiday season in almost upon us, I rounded it up to a three.

  19. 5 out of 5

    CR

    This one made it hard to really care about any of the characters. Truth be told I think if I would have been a teen and found something like this I would have just went to the police and been done with it. I did like how the author weaved the story without giving it all away. It build great suspense overall. But the characters themselves I really just didn't care about them. This one made it hard to really care about any of the characters. Truth be told I think if I would have been a teen and found something like this I would have just went to the police and been done with it. I did like how the author weaved the story without giving it all away. It build great suspense overall. But the characters themselves I really just didn't care about them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kenisha Goyal

    I really liked this book! I didn’t want to put it down! I loved how the author didn’t tell you which parent had which kid and instead gave you clues and made you guess. I also really enjoyed the different styles of writing (prose, transcripts, the handwriting on the postcards). For me, this book has the perfect balance of romance, mystery, real life issues, and teenage issues.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Kunstman

    This book was quite confusing at times due to that fact that the kids always called their parents "mom" and "dad" and never their names, which makes sense, but in context it was always hard to tell who was who. I did appreciate this towards the end because the author did end up clearing things up. It was a good twist, and a good mystery. This book was quite confusing at times due to that fact that the kids always called their parents "mom" and "dad" and never their names, which makes sense, but in context it was always hard to tell who was who. I did appreciate this towards the end because the author did end up clearing things up. It was a good twist, and a good mystery.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erikka

    The banter. The disgustingly over the top banter. And the fact that their parents were all besties and now they are? I can only handle so much implausibility.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Great Books

    Reviewer #26

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I think this is my favourite book of the year!!! Thoroughly enjoy this every step of the way!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    This was a decent YA mystery that was way too long. After investing 16 plus hours into the audiobook, I felt a little let down by the ending.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    A solid, well-done mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. You'll root for the teen characters in both timelines, 1986 and present. And boy, those 1986 details. It all comes back... A solid, well-done mystery that kept me guessing until the very end. You'll root for the teen characters in both timelines, 1986 and present. And boy, those 1986 details. It all comes back...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris N

    Ok, but way too long.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deena

    Disliked just about every character. I'm probably the wrong demographic for this one. Disliked just about every character. I'm probably the wrong demographic for this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dara

    I’m actually not sure how I ended up choosing this book from the audio publisher, but it turned out to be a rather long but interesting listen. It tells the story of two groups of teens, the first in 1986, and the second being their children in the present time. It was hard to keep track of who was whose parent at first, and it seems that this was done on purpose. The story reminded me a bit of One of Us is Lying and the audio reminded me of Sadie, with the included podcast pieces. The homophobi I’m actually not sure how I ended up choosing this book from the audio publisher, but it turned out to be a rather long but interesting listen. It tells the story of two groups of teens, the first in 1986, and the second being their children in the present time. It was hard to keep track of who was whose parent at first, and it seems that this was done on purpose. The story reminded me a bit of One of Us is Lying and the audio reminded me of Sadie, with the included podcast pieces. The homophobia and racism that the first group of teens experienced was compared to that of today’s times and that was an interesting part of the story.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

    A group of teens, Liam, Elayah, Marcie, and Jorja, who grew up together in a rural town, have decided to unbury a time capsule that was buried over thirty years ago by their parents. The teens hope to find some cool 1980s treasures and a link to their parents’ pasts, but what they get is so much more. They discover lots of memorabilia from the year 1986 AND an item that brings about a lot of questions: a bloody knife with a note attached that reads, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone.” Now A group of teens, Liam, Elayah, Marcie, and Jorja, who grew up together in a rural town, have decided to unbury a time capsule that was buried over thirty years ago by their parents. The teens hope to find some cool 1980s treasures and a link to their parents’ pasts, but what they get is so much more. They discover lots of memorabilia from the year 1986 AND an item that brings about a lot of questions: a bloody knife with a note attached that reads, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to kill anyone.” Now, the teens are faced with the idea that one of their parents may or may not have killed someone or may be covering for someone who did, so they ban together to unearth what exactly happened back in 1986. The story shifts from present day to 1986 to reveal troubles from the past that resurface into the present. What started out as a great suspenseful mystery turned into confusing character identities and forced romantic relationships from all different angles. It was hard to differentiate which was more important in the story, the mystery or the romance. In this case, it just couldn’t be both. Also, although a teen from the LGBTQ community or a person of color would appreciate the story’s history lesson and current events that are covered in the book, it lacks structure. It appears that the author purposely omits facts about characters to add to the mystery, but this makes the overall story hard to follow and even harder to connect to the characters because the reader remains unaware of their true identity until three-quarters of the way through. Honestly, Barry Lyga should stick with the genre that he is most known for, science fiction and fantasy.

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