Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer’s life is pretty normal–for a time traveler.
Jackson goes to college, has a job, and has a girlfriend he’s crazy about. Time-travel is just this weird thing he can do, and it’s not even that useful–he can’t change the past or future. He’s only able to visit past moments for short periods before jumping back into the present. But that all changes when two armed men storm in on Jackson and his girlfriend Holly, and, in the altercation, Holly is shot in the chest. In his panic, Jackson jumps back in time, but this time isn’t like the others–he’s jumped all the way to 2007, and now he can’t get back to his present. Desperate to save future Holly, Jackson embarks on a quest to figure out just who exactly he is, and more importantly, how much he can do with his time travel abilities.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s definitely a quick read–the pacing is very fast and the story moves right along. Sometimes I wished the story would take a breather and slow down a little! Every page was packed with action, intrigue, mystery, and romance–sometimes a little too packed. There were times when I felt like this book could have benefited from just a little bit of simplification, and some moments of quiet interspersed with all the information and action. As Mozart once said, ‘The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” I think the same can be said for a story–sometimes the most important things happen in the lulls between action scenes.
Jackson Meyer is a great protagonist. Firstly, I love that he’s a dude. I can’t remember the last time I read a strong young adult novel starring a young man instead of a young woman. Secondly, Jackson is flawed–at the beginning of the novel he’s a spoiled rich boy who’s used to getting his own way. Even the laws of time and physics bow down to him. But when fate throws him a curveball, Jackson steps up to the plate and shows that he’s willing to change. Jackson isn’t always the most likeable protagonist, and there were times when I wanted to smack him for being a reckless idiot, but I found him very believable and complex. His relationships with his family and friends were all unique and true-to-life. Even though I disliked Jackson at the beginning of the novel, by the end I was rooting for him %100.
The major problem I had with this novel was the time travel itself. Time travel is an immensely tricky subject to deal with gracefully, and I felt like this author’s instinctive reaction to this problem was to not really deal with it at all. Sometimes Jackson’s version of time travel is described in a big info-dump using confusing metaphors and similes, but other times seeming inconsistencies are just glossed over. Personally, I would have preferred for Cross to either have faced time travel head on and given the reader more solid explanations, or to have not even tried to explain it in the first place. As it was, the time travel in the novel seemed inconsistent and cobbled together.
Overall, I would give this book a thumbs up! Definitely a good read, and I would be interested in reading more of Julie Cross’s novels in the future!