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What Time Is It There? by Christine Potter

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The Bean Books, 3

Just over a year ago, Bean and Zak headed for colleges two thousand miles apart, promising to write, but to see other people … until Bean fell for the wrong guy and Zak fell off the planet. 

Now, Bean’s got two weeks’ worth of Zak’s year-old letters that she still can’t bear to open—and a broken heart. Her new best friend, a guy named Amp, wants her to read the letters and be done with it, but he may have his own reasons for that. 

When Sam shows up at Bean’s school unexpectedly and Bean tumbles into the 19th century from the cellar of a ruined church, things start making a bizarre kind of sense. That is, if she can just fit all the pieces together again…

14+ due to sexuality and adult situations



“I couldn’t make myself go back to my room,” Bean said. “I—um—Traveled again.”

“Oh, dear,” said Amp. “Same as usual?”

 “Yup. Zak again. I swear, Amp…”

Amp’s greenish blue eyes met hers. He gave her a sad smile—and Bean surrendered to what she’d been trying to hold in all night.

“Oh, shit,” she said, and burst into tears.

“Ah, Bean…” Amp sat helplessly on the incredibly gorgeous crazy quilt his mother had made for him when he left Salt Lake City. It had a lot of purple and black in it, and it was full of special scraps of fabric: a bit of a tie Amp’s grandpa had owned, even a swatch of his mom’s wedding dress. Bean sobbed, and didn’t know whether or not she wanted Amp to hug her. Sometimes he did when she got like this, and it wasn’t too awkward. He wasn’t her boyfriend. He wasn’t.

Okay, so she had slept in his room a few times when she was too sad and tired to go back to her dorm. He had a ridiculous pair of pajamas that looked like they should belong to a cartoon character from the 1920’s. They’d been a birthday present from one of his Utah aunties, and he so was small and skinny that they fit Bean pretty well. She’d curled up beside him as if he were an underweight teddy bear. But all they ever did was sleep. He snored a little. It was always weird the next day—just a bit.

Neither of them said anything for a few minutes. Bean sobbed. Finally, she wiped her eyes.

“I really think you have to open those letters, Bean,” said Amp. “It’s never going to be all the way over until you open those letters.”

“I don’t want it to be all the way over.” Bean struggled to get her voice under control. “I’m sorry. I’m a mess,” she said.

“Then call Zak’s mother and find out where he is. I can’t believe that not one person in Stormkill knows how to get hold of him. He can’t have just fallen off the planet. You’d have heard if something terrible had happened.”

“I don’t even know if that’s true. Suzanne gets the gossip, ’cause she’s still home, day-hopping to the City, but she mainly knew Zak through me. Sam’s super-involved in her life downtown. She never really hung out with Stormkill kids anyway—Deerwood Academy, you know. I can’t call his mom. She probably hates me!” 

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