Jackson Meyer is just a normal 19 year old guy in 2009. Well, as normal as you can be when you can travel through time. It’s not like in the movies where you have to be super careful not to change things. Even when Jackson does change things, everything is normal when he comes back. That is until he and Holly are attacked, ending in Holly getting shot. The panic caused by that moment sends him into a jump to 2007 and no matter how hard he tries, he cannot seem to get back to Holly in 2009. After exhausting himself with attempts to get back, Jackson decides to get comfortable in 2007 and see what he can learn about his abilities. The more attention he pays to his surroundings, the more he learns about the Enemies Of Time. It seems they have one goal: recruit him. They are hellbent on achieving that goal, even if it means slaughtering everyone he cares about. Jackson must decide exactly how far he is willing to go to save Holly because her fate rests in his hands.
I’ll be honest, this book has been setting on my shelf for a very long time. I’ve been interested in it since it came out, partly because it sounds good and partly because I love the cover. I’ve also been avoiding it for quite some time because time travel to save a girl sounds like a recipe for a cliffhanger from hell. I’ve been on that whole, I want to read them, but I’m kinda scared of them kick for a while. Then I saw they were doing a read-a-thon for March for the entire series and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to read these. Plus, you know, I’m on Julie’s street team so these really must be read.
It took me a few chapters before I could really get a hold on Jackson’s character. The whole time travel thing seems to be his main focus and, naturally, he hasn’t let his girlfriend in on this ability. That irked me a little. I get that he can’t go running around telling the world about it and that he hasn’t professed his love for Holly (yet), but I felt like he should confide in her anyway. Especially considering that he already told her bestie and is doing time travel experiments with him. Then she gets shot and Jackson does his farthest time jump to two years in the past and I really started to like him. He’s determination to do whatever was necessary to save Holly won me over pretty quickly. Then we start seeing his sister and learn about her heart-breaking death due to cancer and I just wanted to hug the poor guy. What I really loved most about him, though, was how normal he was. He’s an attractive, intelligent college boy who isn’t beating us over the head with his pretty face. He’s also a book nerd and that had me (and every other bookish girl) drooling over him.
Part of what I enjoyed about this was how realistic Jackson felt. Obviously I, a twenty something woman, have never been inside the head of a teenage boy, but Cross did a great job of making Jackson feel male without making it over the top. It is usually pretty difficult for me to really believe I’m inside the mind of a male character unless there is excessive swearing or innuendos running around his mind. That’s a terrible stereotype on my part, but it doesn’t make it any less true. This is one of the few times where the character felt male without descending to that level. Not that there is anything wrong with that level! My brain is forever stuck in “excessive swearing” mode. I also loved Cross’s version of time travel. Jackson can jump without changing anything or creating a paradox or breaking the space time continuum. I generally don’t do many time travel novels because they seem like a recipe for disaster. Not only do you have to keep up with all the characters in the many timelines, but make sure the rules you set for this power stay constant. The rules mean nothing if they are constantly being broken. We don’t have that problem here. This is time travel with a very contemporary feel, for me at least. The main thing here is Holly. Saving Holly, find Holly, spend time with Holly…and I’m a sucker for that. All the while, Cross is weaving in bits of information for later reveals and setting the ground work for twists and turns, while I’m just enjoying the tension between Holly & Jackson.
The mystery was also a pretty compelling reason to continue reading even when I was supposed to be doing other things. Who are these men that shot Holly? What do they want? Why can’t Jackson get back to his own time? What’s up with his dad? Is there anyone else on planet Earth with these abilities? Can someone explain them to me? I needed to know the answers.
The only reason this gets four stars instead of five is because I wasn’t in love with the ending. I know this is the first book in a series and I’m actually pretty far into book 2 already, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to end well. Which is does end well. Everyone is alive and happy, but not as happy as I’d like them to be. I think we all knew how this would end, I could certainly feel it going in this direction. I’m pretty sure it will be fixed later, but it still left me with a sad face. I’d probably give it 4.5 stars, if the majority of places I will post this review would allow for half-star ratings, but Amazon and GoodReads have yet to jump on that, so I try to always keep it at even numbers!
Matthew Brown does a decent job of bringing all the characters in this world to light. There was nothing about him I didn’t like, but he wasn’t quite as awesome as my favorite narrator ::cough cough:: MacLeod Andrews ::cough cough:: He has good pacing, voice differentiation for different characters, and a generally good presence. I definitely plan on listening to more of his work.