Myra McEntire Hourglass
390pp. Egmont 2011 ISBN: 978-1-60684-144-0
Interest: 2011 Debut Author
Summary (From 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.
This is a book that I was excited to read because of the fresh plot idea and the romance referenced in the summary. After debating between a few books I decided on Hourglass and jumped right in. I was hooked immediately. Once Emerson first confronted a not-from-this-time phantom, questions and predictions started racing through my mind. Is she really seeing them? Why are they there? How will these play into the story? My interest took off from there.
Emerson is living with her older brother, Thomas, and his wife, Dru. I love these characters. They are everything you’d want an older brother and his wife to be in this situation, and any time, really. They’re supportive, understanding, caring, etc. I love their career choice as well. They’re trying to renovate all the old buildings in their town to revive the town. This ends up playing an important part in the story. Also, Thomas is who introduces Emerson to Michael. Michael is part of the Hourglass and says he can help Emerson deal with seeing the phantoms.
Michael is the mysterious, sometimes brooding, protective heart-throb often found in paranormal YA. Emerson has an unusual and powerful connection/attraction to Michael, but Michael won’t do anything about it because he can’t “mix business with pleasure.” This introduces our heart-throb tension. I will point out that Emerson isn’t the typical “damsel in distress.” She has a brown belt in karate and knows how to defend herself. These elements between Michael and Emerson, while a different twist on the usual paranormal storyline, caused some problems for me. I love Emerson’s character and how strong she is. But after a while I grew tired of how often she assured us that she’s tough. We’re so often hearing about how bad it is to write female characters who are weak and need their male counterpart, but in this case I grew tired of constantly being reminded of how tough Emerson is. There’s not much middle ground here. I wanted to see Emerson show more emotion and even some vulnerability. I know this is a conflict she admits to as a character, but it still irked me. Reading Michael in this story really made me think about paranormal heart-throbs in general. Michael is in college, so he’s written as being a bit more mature than the average high school guy. But I still didn’t buy into him being a college student. I know not all guys are immature and want to party and all of that. But Michael, and his friend Kaleb, are simply too adult. The way they’re written, I pictured them as guys in their late 20s. I had no problem reading Emerson as a teenage girl, however. Why is this happening so much in this genre of YA?
The story itself is fun and different. Many people are interested in the idea of time travel, so this book will go over well with my students. There are some holes in the story, but maybe they’ll work themselves out in book two. I just wish that we would have gotten to the actual time travel part of the story sooner. Is anyone else getting tired of all of these 400+ page novels? I appreciate attention to detail and world-building, but I’m still searching for reasons why Hourglass needed to be almost 400 pages long.
I know this isn’t a raving, I give this five stars review, but I did enjoy it. I just didn’t love it. I’d love to know what others who have read this think. I’m also looking forward to what my students this school year will think.