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5 Books like Tuck Everlasting: Time Slips and Eternities

Jane Howarth itcherImagine coming face to face with the past. You can do exactly that (with just the right amount of realism and a hint of the supernatural) in these magical books like ‘Tuck Everlasting’. Let’s start with ‘Gone-Away Lake’ and ‘Frost Hollow Hall’. ~ Jane Howarth

For some, time passes slowly. An hour can seem like an eternity. For others, there was never enough. For Jesse Tuck, it didn’t exist…

Normal life versus immortality is a running theme in ‘Tuck Everlasting’, thanks to that troublesome spring of eternal life. Some books are fearless and direct, but Natalie Babbitt does something clever.

The wood is a magical place, but at the same time it feels completely real – we can all imagine walking somewhere like that. And though the Tucks have lived for years and years, they’re not spooky or overly weird.

For another read that’s just otherworldly enough to touch on all that life stuff without being scary, you can’t do better than these stories of time slips and friendly ghosts.


Books Similar to ‘Tuck Everlasting’…

‘Gone-Away Lake’ (Elizabeth Enright, 1957)

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Time gets into anything; yes indeed, it does…

Portia gets the feeling her annual summer trip to her cousin’s house by the lake will be different this year. But neither of the children realise just how unusual it’s going to be.

Crossing the woods and a murky swamp one day, they find themselves in a long-abandoned town…

If you love seeing the wood come to life on the pages of ‘Tuck Everlasting’, you’ll love the similar setting and descriptions in ‘Gone-Away Lake’.

Similarity Match: 85%
Time and fading things are the big theme here, and like Winnie, Portia is welcomed by folk from the past. Here, though, we’re walking right into the past instead of it coming to us.

‘Frost Hollow Hall’ (Emma Carroll, 2010)

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Spread out before us was the thickest, most marvellous frost I’d ever seen…

In 1871, Kit Barrington met an icy end while skating on his family’s lake. Ten years later, two local children risk an adventure on the now-forbidden frozen water – and disaster strikes again.

But just as Tilly feels herself drowning beneath the ice, she’s saved by Kit’s ghost, and embarks on a quest to discover the Barrington family’s secrets.

Similarity Match: 80%
A little bit spookier with a stronger mystery strand, just as impossible to put down.

‘When Marnie Was There’ (Joan G. Robinson, 1967)

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I said to the others, “Look at that girl!” but they none of them saw you…

Studio Ghibli’s adaptation has been slow to roll out internationally, but if you want to read the book first, you’ll be in for an easier time. It’s been around for decades and is currently in print. Yay!

Lonely Anna is sent to stay on the Norfolk coast, where she befriends Marnie – and life is suddenly so much better.

And then a series of strange discoveries whip up a fog of mysteries around Anna’s friend. We (and she) begin to wonder if there’s something a little otherworldly about sweet Marnie.

Similarity Match: 75%
The local secrets and friendship across time we’re familiar with, though less peril and more friendship than ‘Tuck Everlasting’.

‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ (Philippa Pearce, 1958)

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Hurry! Whispered the house; and the grandfather clock at the heart of it beat an anxious tick, tick…

I’ve loved ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ since falling for the BBC adaptation – it’s just the right amount of eerie without being spooky, exactly what you want in a teatime drama or bedtime book.

Every night, as the clock strikes thirteen (yep, thirteen), the door of Tom’s aunt’s house opens onto a strange garden. It’s not there by day, and is home to a girl dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Ooh…

More magical books like this one? Ah, you’re in the right place.

Similarity Match: 75%
Another time slip friendship. This one makes the most of the midnight setting but like ‘Tuck Everlasting’ it’s got a secret at its heart.


If You Like ‘Tuck Everlasting’, You Will Like…

Natalie Babbitt’s writing style is impossibly charming and so, so vivid. As you read, you can practically see the leaves growing around you as she sets us down in the middle of the wood.

Our last few stories conjured up a kind of timeless, vaguely historical feeling – the next book, from Michael Morpurgo, gives us a very fixed backdrop. And though it’s peppered with thoughts on beginnings and mortality like ‘Tuck Everlasting’, the tangible details have a rougher edge.

‘Listen to the Moon’ (Michael Morpurgo, 2014)

Image Source: michaelmorpurgo

We all come from somewhere. But, in a way, I come from nowhere. Let me explain…

A fisherman and his son find a girl washed ashore, ‘Little Mermaid’ style. Where has she come from? Is she a mythical creature, or something more everyday?

But if she’s a normal girl she could be dangerous, as the ‘War Horse’ writer hands his characters another complication. WWI rages in the background, putting these Scilly Isles inhabitants in near-constant danger.

And as always, Michael Morpurgo adds down-to-earth touches to his writing along with bits of stories collected like seashells.

Sea stories and a WWI Scilly Isles setting make a big change. This is a story of a different kind, but the washed-up girl’s mysterious origins and the combination of real and strange might win you over.


Still Looking for a Book to Make Time Fly?

Ah, perfect, that gives me an excuse to look out a few more favourites.

‘The Enchanted Castle’ (E. Nesbit, 1907) also takes us to a place that holds its own secrets (and, you guessed it – enchantments) but with a ‘Famous Five’ atmosphere. And books like Cornelia Funke’s ‘Inkheart’ bring magical stories to life.

Or, you can set aside the everlasting element and explore similar themes with ‘Little Women’ (Louisa May Alcott, 1868).

Which book like ‘Tuck Everlasting’ is much-loved in your house?

Let us know in the comments!

Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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