Friday, June 1, 2012

Tempest Book Review

Author: Julie Cross. Release date: 2012. Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin. ISBN: 9780312568894.

Annotation: It’s 2009, and nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a college student in New York City who recently discovered a startling new talent: he can jump back and forth through time. One day, however, he is attacked by uniformed men who seem to know who he is and what he can do. After the men shoot his girlfriend, Holly, Jackson panics and jumps back in time to 2007. Holly is still alive, but there is one major problem: Jackson can’t seem to return to 2009.

Personal thoughts: I love time travel stories, but this one was different from any I had ever read. Usually one of the main components of time travel is changing something in the future, but that concept was completely absent from this story and it was hard for me to get used to that at first. Once I embraced the mechanics behind the time travel in this trilogy, however, I really enjoyed the novel. I think Julie Cross has created some interesting characters that will be able to hold the story up throughout the series. I also liked that the main character was an older teen; it’s not something that happens very often in paranormal young adult fiction. I’m looking forward to seeing where this trilogy heads.
Plot summary: The year is 2009, and nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a happy-go-lucky college student who spends most of his time with his girlfriend, Holly. One day, however, Jackson discovers that he has developed a strange new talent: he can jump back and forth through time. Unsure of who he can trust with this new found skill, Jackson confides in his best friend and science-geek, Adam, who develops a series of experiments for Jackson to test his abilities. It seems that Jackson can only jump back in time a few days at the most, and nothing he does in the past seems to have any impact on his current life when he returns. What Jackson doesn’t know is that his skills are about to be put to the test, however, when two uniformed men arrive at his dorm room one morning and seem to know who he is and what he can do. While struggling with the two men, Holly is accidentally shot, and, in a panic, Jackson jumps back in time. He finds himself in the year 2007, far earlier than he has ever jumped before, and unable to return to 2009. He also learns that the 2007 version of himself has disappeared. Confused and determined to ensure Holly’s safety, Jackson tries to find a way to return to 2009 before it’s too late.
Review: Time travel is always a popular concept in young adult novels, and Julie Cross offers a fresh perspective with the first book in her new trilogy, Tempest. The story begins already set in the past, letting the reader know right away that they are in for something different. Jumping through time for nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer isn’t like riding in a car outfitted with a flux-capacitor: he can only go back a few days at the most, and nothing he does changes the future. After he finds himself in 2007 and unable to return to his current time, the science of exactly how he travels through time becomes far more cerebral. The author doesn’t shy away from making the reader think about how it all works, making for a novel with enough depth to last through the trilogy. There is also a strong mystery element to the plot, as well as a romance that is sweet without being overly gushy. The novel ends with a cliffhanger that will definitely leave readers longing for the sequel, which is set to be released in 2013.
Genre: Science-fiction
Reading level: Grade 8+
Similar titles: Counter Clockwise by Jason Cockroft, Hourglass by Myra McEntire.
Themes: Time travel, conspiracy, romance, CIA.  

Awards/Reviews: Starred review from Kirkus,  positive reviews from Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Library Journal and Entertainment Weekly.
Series Information: First book in Tempest trilogy. Second book set to be released in 2013.  
Discussion questions:

- Why do you think there is a conflict between the CIA and the EOTs?
- If you were Jackson, would you have tried to date Holly in 2007? Why or why not?
- Do you think Jackson should trust his father? Dr. Melvin? Chief Marshall? Why or why not?
- What would you like to see happen in the sequel?

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