Author: Myra McEntire
Category: young adult
Publisher: EgmontUSA, June 2011
Page count: 400
Source: my library
Star rating: 3 out of 5
Emerson Cole is having a rough time of it. Her parents died in a terrible accident when she was 13, and now, at 17, she lives in Ivy Springs, TN, with her doting older brother, Thomas, and his wife, Dru. Emerson has a secret that only her closest family know: she sees things that aren’t there. Not quite ghosts, not quite phantoms, these apparitions are connected to old buildings. Emerson sees a Southern belle, a Confederate soldier, a jazz trio. She can make them disappear by touching them, but they come back. Emerson was nearly driven crazy by these visions, and after a particularly harrowing incident in her high school cafeteria, she was institutionalized, tested, and heavily medicated.
She’s back in Ivy Springs and the visions are happening again, because Emerson has stopped taking her medication, wanting to feel like her old self again. Her brother calls in one more expert, a mysterious young man named Michael Weaver. He’s just a couple years older than Emerson and is from a group called the Hourglass. He believes Emerson’s stories and even seems to share her visions. And it’s not just that kind of connection the two have. Emerson and Michael are drawn to each other and feel an electric current when they’re together or touch. Michael wants to help Emerson, but also needs her help. He enlists her to use her gifts to prevent a death that never should have happened.
Hourglass weaves science fiction with traces of the kind of paranormal stories that are so popular in young adult fiction today. The story is interesting, but uncomfortably close to the plot of Twilight, and it’s quite complicated and wandering at times. A lot happens, and there’s an almost over-abundance of characters, and it’s hard to keep it all straight. The “science” seems a bit far-fetched, even for science fiction, and a willing suspension of disbelief is required. Lastly, I was a bit uncomfortable with the intensity of Emerson and Michael’s attraction to each other. Not only is there an almost crippling co-dependent need that Emerson feels for Michael, but the sexual undertones of their relationship are just shy of inappropriate. I’m no prude, but I do know what’s appropriate and not for teenagers, and this is a bit too much.
I look forward to the next book in the series and hope McEntire can tighten up the science and explain it all a little more clearly. She has an interesting thing going for her here, but it can get too big and run away from her if she’s not careful.