Genres: Mystery & Detective, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 2013
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What would you change?
Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.
Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.
This was one of those books where it felt like every chapter left me feeling like this:
In the best way possible, of course. This is time-travel done extremely well.
The story is split between two POV’s: Em and Marina. Both are good narrators, and their voices are quite distinct. The characters are all quite interesting and well defined, which is not always a strength of YA lit. The time-travel is surprisingly and thankfully believable (as much as time travel can be).
Well crafted romance always makes me super happy; no insta-love here. Instead, you get the product of difficult situations bringing people together and then adding time-travel on top of that makes for some convoluted relationships. Em and Finn are adorable from the start, and I loved seeing their relationship grow and progress, especially once the time-traveling started.
This review is really hard to write, because there’s this really great reveal about 75 pages in that is making it INCREDIBLY hard to say anything about the book at all without giving something away.
Em and Finn go back in time to change the past. Pretty standard. They begin changing things which leads to unexpected circumstances, and how they deal with these is what makes them such interesting characters. They have endured so much, I sometimes wondered how they kept going. Terrill kept raising the stakes, making their own existence questionable, making this book an even more edge-of-your-seat experience.
The writing is excellent, the plot is BRILLIANT, the characters interesting, and the love believable. It’s pretty much the perfect book.
I’m not entirely sure why there is going to be a sequel. I thought Terrill ended it nicely. However, if the second is as good as the first, you’ll hear no complaining from me.
*NOTE* Since writing this review, Cristin Terrill has announced that there will NOT be a second book.