Tempest: Learning to Time Travel the Hard Way

by Mk

in Fiction,Romance,Science Fiction,Young Adult

I kept seeing the book cover for Tempest by Julie Cross and wondered if it was a retelling of Shakespeare’s tale. When I got the opportunity to grab a digital advance reader’s copy, I decided to check it out. I was relieved to find that this story has no resemblance to Shakespeare’s story. This well-written YA novel combines science fiction and action adventure with a bit of romance to present a real page-turner.

It’s 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer lives on the Upper East Side. You might think he’s got it all but his life has been touched by tragedy several times, including when his twin sister died four years ago. He misses her terribly. Although his father is CEO of a company, Jackson has no clue what he really does. All he does know is that his father is remote and incredibly secretive. They basically live separate lives.

Jackson has a secret of his own; he recently discovered he can time travel. Unfortunately he’s not very good at it. He can only go a few hours or days in the past. He can’t go into the future at all, which sucks. And time traveling totally wipes him out. He has no clue what he’s doing or how to control it at this point, and whatever he does in the past seems to have no effect on the present at all. This is certainly not like the stories he’s read. If you’re going to be able to time travel, it should at least be fun, right?

“Okay, so it’s true. I can time travel. But it’s not as exciting as it sounds. I can’t go back in time and kill Hitler. I can’t go to the future and see who wins the World Series in 2038. So far, the most I’ve ever jumped is about six hours in the past. Some superhero, right?”

What keeps Jackson feeling fairly normal are his girlfriend, Holly, and his brilliant best friend, Adam, who attends MIT. Because Jackson doesn’t want to end up as some government experiment, Adam is the only person who knows he can time travel. Adam just looks at it like it’s an interesting problem to be solved. They’ve been conducting experiments to learn more about what Jackson can do and where his limits are, as safely as possible. At this point, Adam is far more excited about the possibilities than Jackson is. It’s pretty lame to only be able to travel a few hours to a few days back – what good is that?

“The first time I jumped was about eight months ago, during my first semester of college. I was sitting in the middle of a French poetry class. I nodded off for a few minutes and woke up in a cold breeze and a door slamming me in the face. I was standing in front of my dorm. Before I even had a chance to panic, I was right back in class again. Then I panicked.”

Then one day when Jackson is visiting Holly in her dorm room, two menacing men with guns burst into the room and ask him very odd questions. In the struggle when they try to kidnap him, Holly is shot. Panicking at the thought that she appears to be dying, Jackson time travels spontaneously to get away from the kidnappers and the horror of losing her.

“’Just cooperate and no one will hurt you,’ the advancing man said to Holly. Before he could complete the sentence, she revealed her right hand. Her clenched fist erupted in a well-aimed stream of pepper spray. ‘Get out of my room!’”

He ends up back in 2007 and soon discovers he’s stuck. Although he’s desperate to get back to Holly, he can’t no matter how many times he tries. He can still only travel backward, and he always ends up in 2007 afterward. After he calms down, he realizes the only thing left is to try to prevent what happened in 2009, to save her if he can figure out how. To do that, he’s going to need all the help he can get from Adam and anyone else who might know what to do.

Julie Cross’ debut novel, Tempest, has a unique approach to time travel that makes this far more interesting than the run-of-the-mill time travel story. We discover how Jackson’s abilities work as he does and that helps to build the tension, along with his desperation to save the girl he has discovered he loves. We’re fumbling right alongside of him. When he discovers what his father really does, the story jumps to a whole new level – and no I’m not going to tell you what that job is, except to say it’s how the novel got its name. Oh, have I mentioned that Tempest is Book #1 of a new trilogy? I can hardly wait for the next installment!

Tempest will be released on January 17, 2012 but it should be available for pre-order from your favorite bookseller below. Just click the button to go there to get it.

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