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?
Easily one of the best YA books of 2011, Hourglass by Myra McEntire seamlessly blends romance, suspense and scifi, even for readers who don’t normally like one of those genres. Combined, they are electric, much like the chemistry between the two main characters, Emerson and Michael.
With banter and attraction not seen since Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss, the writing is flawless and rife with sexual tension — this reader actually had butterflies for more than half the book. The relationship is perfectly flawed, and the potential rival deserves his own book. I hope he plays a major role in the rest of the series.
If romance isn’t your cup of tea, then the suspense and paranormal elements will certainly hook readers’ interest. It was a thrill to see Emerson’s story unfold, her “talent” explained, and discover that her ability is a symptom of something much greater. This leads to the scifi aspect of the novel.
Without being spoilery, I’ll say that it’s presented in a way that even nonscifi fans can appreciate. There’s not much math or science involved, though time management skills are a plus. The next book in the series could get complicated, but I trust McEntire to walk us through the ever-increasing complications of Emerson and Michael’s abilities and the consequences of their actions.
As if all this weren’t enough, the book is set in the South, which lends its historical charm and unique character to the book as much as any of the human participants.
When all of these excellent stand-alone elements are combined in Hourglass, the result is a breath of fresh air for YA book lovers.