Review: Tempest-Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Release Date: January 2012
Publisher: St.Martin
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 Hoots
Reviewer: Lydia

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. (Goodreads)

This fantastical novel of teen-age time travel is a fun, well-paced and well written story. From the beginning the reader is immersed into the problems of Jackson Meyer’s time travel issues. Here is a teenage boy who does not know how to control his ability to time travel, furthermore only thought his ability to time travel was limited, only to find he can go further into the past than he ever contemplated. Cross has given him a concrete goal: to get back to save his girlfriend who was shot by undercover agents when he “jumped” from 2009 to 2007. She presents a particularly conflicting subplot as he wonders about this “freakish” ability.
Cross is an excellent writer. The book is paced to entice the reader to keep reading on and on. What is going to happen next? Every reader will want to know the answer to that question. Cross expertly integrates those small essential elements of what would happen with a time traveler. What about the waitress you used to know? Is this the same coffee shop with the same employees? And how could your sister whom you see in a past setting possibly understand she is looking at an older brother?
Perhaps the most effective elements Cross uses is the journal which Jackson keeps, even as he travels through time. This particular prop allows Cross to insert important information yet stay within the voice of the protagonist. Jackson’s varying images of people through time lend a realistic feel to a contemporary novel with a fantastical feel. She establishes some basic propositions for the protagonist to follow and maintains them throughout the novel, such as the concept of how Jackson can time travel and how persons will react to him in different time periods. She portrays Jackson as an innovative, thinking and creative person, concerned about the people who matter to him.
The novel is an interesting and fun novel for those interested in contemporary fantasy. There are strong characters, solid plot and appropriate subplots, a solid novel framework, excellent pacing, and interesting writing. Readers of this genre should have a good time.

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