Oh, Julie. I don’t even know what to say. I LOVE Julie Cross’s contemporaries. Third Degree and Whatever Life Throws at You are gems! Tempest… It was bad. Very bad. It might be the most poorly done YA “science fiction” I have ever read.
Reading this was like watching a TV show with someone else and not really paying attention to it. You kind of know what’s happening, but since you keep walking away to check on dinner or switch the laundry to the dryer, you always kind of feel like you’re missing some vital piece of information.
This book has a couple really big issues:
1. Lack of character development- I don’t know or like any of them. Every character in this book is like a paper doll. They’re completely flat and 1 dimensional. Jackson’s “growth” is completely out of nowhere. Cross gives no reason for his personality changes (lobotomy?). He goes from noncommittal to the perfect boyfriend for almost no reason. This is explained, but poorly and we’re told he’s changed- NOT SHOWN. Jackson and Holly have zero chemistry. I could not care any less about their supposed love story.
2. Telling, not showing. Almost all of the book is like this. We’re not shown the Jackson learns self defense, we’re told that he does. We’re not shown that he learns how to sweep for bugs. We’re told that he does. This is how the author progresses the plot throughout the entire book.
3. The book has entirely too much dialogue. This is the other way the plot progresses: big, giant info dumps on the reader in the form of dialogue. Again, we’re shown almost nothing, but Cross tells us that crap happens by her characters talking about it endlessly or by Jackson’s inner monologue.
4. The world-building is non-existent. It seems like one of 2 things are happening here. Either Cross didn’t want to take the time to figure out how her version of time travel worked so she just settled on “we don’t know enough about it/time travel is a mystery” or she didn’t want to define it so that she could do whatever she wanted within the book.
She never defines any time travel rules. So random, confusing things keep happening and it’s never explained besides “we don’t know how that can occur. Time travel is a mystery.” It just seemed like a giant cop-out on the author’s part. She didn’t have to think about anything or put any thought into it. She can just do whatever she needs to to progress the plot and blame it on this mysterious, unknown thing. It was annoying. I was always wanting to know why. Constantly, throughout this entire book, I felt incomplete. I was always missing info. I kept waiting for the big reveal that never came.
Here’s how much I hated this book: it ended with a giant cliffhanger and I give no fucks. None. I do not care what happens in the second book. At all. I don’t even care enough to go look at spoilers. The ending- which was supposed to be so sad- had no affect on me other than the fact that I was elated that the book was over.
I hear this was optioned for a movie. Cool. Don’t let Julie Cross write the script.