by Julie Cross
Published: January 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.
Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities. But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him. Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
I really wish I could say that the blurb or the cover attracted me to this book, but neither of them did. I entered a free drawing through Goodreads and it seemed mildly interesting. It also had a lot of interest so I assumed good things. Well, after finishing it, I cannot understand why. According to the ARC version I received there is a HUGE amount of marketing going into this book, and it already has a movie deal signed. But I'm at a total loss as to why?! This book was a complete mess. From the cover to the last page.
First the cover is a complete rip off. Okay so it's in color, but there is absolutely no way the publishing company didn't see an eerie resemblance to Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush cover. What is wrong with cover artists today? The cover doesn't even depict a scene from the book!! There's one moment it seems close to but still, where is the originality?
On to the plot. Time travel? I'll go with it. I'm not a huge fan (apart from Back to the Future movies), but it's not being over done in today's market. The problem is that this came off as a mesh of Time Cop, The Butterfly Effect and Jumper. And not only that, but what seems to be original is a complete mess. There is absolutely no logic to the time jumps happening. The hero Jackson jumps into the past, then into the future, then creates an alternate past and still manages to jump into a future similar to the one he was first in, but not like the one he was going to be in after going into the past and creating an alternate. Confused? Yeah, well so was I. And what's worse is there is absolutely no point to anything he does after the big jump he initially takes. Everything could have been solved if he'd simply stayed there, because no matter what he does in the past, it won't change the future, except when it creates an alternate future (which apparently makes sense in this book).
Oh, the characters, or character I should say. Jackson is a boy. No, he really is. I say that because I think the author forgot this fact at moments (many moments). Like when he goes into the past and thinks about how all the college kids he sees would be surprised that Jon and Kate broke up. Really? Teenage boys know and care who Jon and Kate are? And they assume a mass of other college kids will too? Please. Teenage guys care about very few things. Sex, sports, technology, girls, working out. Any of these I could believe, but a middle aged married couple with eight kids? Anytime there was an opportunity for Cross to address even the faintest physical contact it's glossed over, and it didn't feel like she was trying to shield her young readers, but that she didn't know how to describe it from a boy's perspective. What a cop out. If you're writing from a boy's perspective, and having it centered around a romance (which this book supposedly is), then get me in the mind of this boy, and be honest about it. (This is exactly why I have yet to attempt writing from a male's point of view.)
Jackson is also a flake. And not one I would want as my boyfriend. Here he is with this amazing ability to time travel and instead of telling his girlfriend, he stands her up multiple times, pays off her roommate with his credit card (oh, boy did I mention that he's uber rich?), and then when she's shot and laying dying in his arms he time jumps back too far. So there's the big problem he faces. Not that his girlfriend, Holly, is dying in his future, but that he's stuck in the past. At first he tries to get back to her, but within a couple of chapters, he's trying to see his dead sister, uncover his father's secret government job, and date the younger version of his dying girlfriend, because really, why try and get back to help her when he can have a younger one?