Keeping track of time takes on a new meaning in Tara Sim’s Timekeeper.

Set in Victorian London, Sim’s debut novel, the first in a trilogy, tells the story of an alternate world controlled by ancient clock towers, where even the slightest damage to one can cause people to lose time—or worse, stop it completely.

In the midst of all this is Danny Hart, a teenaged clock-repairing prodigy who is slowly getting back to work following an accident as well as a recent family tragedy. But Danny finds his life turned upside down when he runs into (and falls in love with) the spirit of one of the clock towers he’s fixing—all while clock towers are being attacked around the country.

Timekeeper’s premise is original and its world unique—largely thanks to its steampunk influence and more modern sensibilities. Sim easily balances the book’s romance with the larger mystery, allowing both Danny and Colton’s blossoming love to stand on its own, while still tying into a deeper mythology. Though the plot does drag in certain parts—no thanks to Danny’s emotional outbursts—readers will still find themselves rooting not just for his romance with Colton, but also for his quest for answers