Written by: Myra McEntire
Published by: EgmontUSA
Release date: June 14th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
One hour to rewrite the past . . .
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.
So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.
Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?
Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.
Emerson Cole sees things that no one else can – echoes of people from the past. She started seeing them shortly before the accident that killed her parents, and after they died, things only got worse. Emerson was institutionalized for a time, because of her visions and her depression, and also spent a few years at a boarding school – until her scholarship ended and she had to move back home to live with her brother, Thomas, and his wife, Drew. Thomas and Dru are fully aware that Emerson sees “ghosts”/visions, and they (Thomas especially) have been trying to find someone who can help her for some time. Thomas’s latest find is Michael Weatherly, a consultant for the Hourglass Institute, which specializes in parapsychology. Thomas and Emerson are both hoping for some kind of cure for Emerson – but what Michael tells her is that her “ghosts” aren’t really ghosts, and have more to do with time travel than any kind of paranormal phenomenon. But Michael isn’t just there to help Emerson cope with her newly-dubbed “ability” of seeing time-ripples. He needs her help – there’s more going on that he lets on, and playing with time-travel is dangerous. Things might never be the same if she agrees.
I am a sucker for time-travel – when it’s done right. I am even more of a sucker for a unique take on time-travel that’s explained excellently but doesn’t get too sciencey – I like to keep some wonder in my scifi, personally, and adding too many scientific explanations can sometimes ruin my enjoyment of an otherwise great plot. Maybe that’s simple of me, but whatever. Hourglass is basically my perfect mix of sciencey and imaginitive time-travel, and I loved it. It felt like a blend of scifi and paranormal – probably more on the scifi end, but it definitely has an aspect of the paranormal to it, which was awesome. And even though the actual time-travel doesn’t really come into play until the conclusion, I seriously enjoyed the lead-up. The characters carried the story well; I loved the explanations of time-travel and its rules; and there was just enough suspense leading up to the conclusion, that I was never bored and was always wondering how things would play out.
I really liked Emerson’s character. She’s spunky, smart, doesn’t take crap from people, and even though she’s been through seriously tough times, she’s made it out the other side even stronger. And I loved her sense of humor; some of her sarcastic comments had me laughing out loud. I love these types of heroines. Michael was fantastic, as well – but I was destined to fall for him the minute he showed up and started talking all timey-wimey (like I said – I’m a sucker for time-travel). Michael and Emerson have an immediate and undeniable connection right from the beginning, and I loved their chemistry. And though this was definitely a case of insta-attraction (they both have abilities that complement each other, which almost literally causes sparks when they’re together, lol), they are forced to take things pretty slow because Thomas hired Michael to help Emerson, and Michael promised to keep their relationship professional. This was frustrating at times (I often just wanted to squeeze their heads together – NOW KISS!!!), but it forced them to become good friends and get to know each other, which just made their relationship even better.
So Emerson and Michael were great – but one of my favorite things about this book is Emerson and her relationship with Thomas and Dru. So many main characters in scifi/paranormal YA decide to bear the secret of their ability alone, not confiding in anyone – but Hourglass is an exception to this rule. Emerson tells Thomas and Dru what she sees, and their reaction isn’t to say she’s crazy, it’s to offer support. (In fact, Emerson is harder on herself than Thomas and Dru ever are.) They just want to find someone who can help her make sense of the things she sees. I found this incredibly refreshing in a genre where familial relationships tend to be more adversarial than anything – the parents don’t support the main character, or think they’re crazy and need help… It was awesome to see that not only did Emerson decide to confide in them about her “ghosts”, but that they reacted and supported her the way they did.
Another intriguing character was Jack – who shows up very early but whom we learn little about until the end. At first, Emerson thinks he’s just another time ripple, and in a way he is… but all is not as it seems. Jack and his mysterious presence really added a sense of suspense throughout the book which I loved.
I reeeeeally liked Hourglass. The characters were all great – Emerson and her take-no-crap attitude, Michael and his loyalty, Thomas and Dru and their welcome support of Emerson. The beginning might have been slow compared to the end, but I didn’t mind at all. There was tension and suspense throughout, thanks to Jack and other factors, and the characters carried the story really well. Whatever slowness there might have been, it more than paid off with an ending that made me melt in the timey-wimey perfection (think Harry Potter time-turner scenes – SO GOOD). I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who’s a fan of YA paranormal romance, especially if you’re also a fan of scifi. You really do get the best of both worlds here.