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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: Tempest by Julie Cross

YA time travel thriller 

Can Jackson save Holly? That's the big question in this fab twisty thriller. The plot centres on a nineteen year old who's just trying to methodically test out and understand his time travelling abilities when along comes disaster and he finds himself stranded in the past, knowing his girlfriend is injured in the present.

This is a greatly enjoyable read. I love Jackson! We get his story first hand through first person past tense narration with occasional entries from his journal (in which he records the results of his experimental jumps through time). His voice is fresh, chatty and believable and he's essentially a good guy who just wants to understand what's happening to him and to save his beloved Holly.  I also enjoyed the fact that romance drives the story, in that Jackson is motivated by the desire to save Holly, but this is much more a quest plot than a romance one in the end.

Holly herself is a great character too - interesting in her own right, and it's cool to see her in both the past and the present through Jackson's eyes. I think that Julie Cross captures the weirdness of this really well. Seeing Jackson interacting with people he knows in the present but who don't know him in the past makes for entertaining reading, and occasional moments of levity.

The first person narration makes it easy for us to be gradually given the rules of Jackson's time travelling, as he figures them out. These are well thought through and make the thriller aspects of the novel tense and exciting. I can't wait to find out more in the rest of the trilogy, and to see whether and how Jackson's abilities develop.

I feel that the pace is a strength of this one. As a thriller, it needs - and delivers - high octane action, but this is tempered and thrown into relief by a lot of the quieter, more 'human' moments. Jackson clearly genuinely loves Holly and some of his family interactions also make for emotionally intense writing. These moments help to round Jackson out as a character, as well as ensuring that the pace of the novel is varied enough to have impact.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this to teens (and adults) who enjoy thrillers, are intrigued by the time travel angle and moved by epic love stories.

The blurb says:

TODAY
Jackson and Holly are in love.

TOMORROW 
she will lie bleeding in his arms.

YESTERDAY
Jackson must undo it all.

Jackson has a secret - he can jump into his own past. But when a shocking event propels him further back in time than he has ever been before - he finds he can't return.

Now Jackson has to find a way to save the girl he loves before they have even met, and time is not on his side...

**********************
Published 2012 by Macmillan
Find more information at Goodreads
My grateful thanks to the publishers for sending a review copy

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