McDaniel, Lurlene. The Time Capsule. Laurel Leaf, 2005. ISBN 978-0553494310 244 pp. $
McDaniel’s tearjerker focuses on a set of twins, Adam and Alexis, who, as seniors in high school, have just been invited to a reunion to open a time capsule created in kindergarten. Back then, Alexis wanted to help others, while Adam dreamed of becoming a fireman. But Adam’s first bout of leukemia at age eleven splintered the family that rallied around him, and their parents now spend more time at work than at home. Alexis wants her life to return to the happier times of the past, before Adam got sick, when her parents still seemed to love one another. Now, Adam’s leukemia has severely relapsed, and it doesn’t look as though he will live to achieve his dream. This time, will his illness reunite the family instead of driving it apart?
Initially, McDaniel uses the bond between twins very effectively; they read one another’s minds and finish each other’s sentences. It isn’t until Adam collapses that Alexis gets a premonition that he is in trouble, even though all the hints that Adam is sick are there: weight loss, hiding bruises, lack of energy. Alexis remains naively in the dark until her brother bluntly tells her he is out of options, and that the last cycle of medications not only didn’t send the cancer into remission, but have permanently damaged his liver, which is failing. Although this makes for some dramatic moments in the plot, it is not believable that someone as smart as Ally can be so dumb about her sibling’s condition, in spite of how wrapped up the overextended young woman is with debate club, her boyfriend, and trying to discern if divorce is in the air. This is not up to par with McDaniel’s earlier works, but will be loved by fans nonetheless.