Written by: Myra McEntire
Published by: Egmont USA
Date: June 14, 2011
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?
I initially picked up this book because I had seen it mentioned on a few blogs in the cyberworld. Aside from that, I absolutely LOVED the cover. It's so mysterious and intriguing that I wanted to know how it connected to the story.
The story follows 17-year-old Emerson and is set in a small town just outside of Nashville, Tennessee (probably because the author, Myra McEntire, is from Nashville). Words can't express how much I loved the setting. The way the small town of Ivy Springs was described left me with a clear picture in my head of where the characters were living their lives. It was picture perfect. It truly left me with the image of my ideal small town.
One of the key spots throughout the book was the Emerson's best friend's grandmother's cafe, Murphy's Law. This particular cafe was described in such intricate detail I could imagine every nook and cranny. I had a conversation with the author recently on Twitter who told me about the town on which Ivy Springs is based. Naturally I Googled it. I was right; it is a stunning, picturesque little town which, as I thought, matched my idea of the perfect small town. Myra also drew my attention to the cafe on which Murphy's Law is based. Again, this was exactly as I imagined Murphy's Law -- except flipped, to which Myra said.... "You're freaking me out... because Murphy's Law is also flipped". Shazam! That must be some talent for her to write these places in such a way that I could visualise them exactly.
The lead character, 17-year-old Emerson, is quite simply, awesome. She's tiny and fiesty and despite going through a lot in the last few years, she's strong. However, she does have a lot of difficulty trusting people because of her ability, which she thinks of as more of a curse. This ability causes her to see people who aren't actually there... not quite ghosts, but not quite real people either. She's been institutionalized because of this 'ability' and has spent far too long on medication that turns her into a zombie-like shell. She has an awesome best friend, which I always like to see in a strong female protagonist, and she's incredibly independent.
Michael is the male love interest for Emerson who also happens to see things that aren't really there. He's incredibly good looking, charming and incredibly mysterious. He growls when he's frustrated, broods about as much as Edward Cullen, he's crazy over protective but he's kind-hearted and oh so dreamy! He's hiding something, and it seems like something big. Whatever he's hiding is the kind of thing that makes you want - no - NEED to turn the page to find out what happens next.
The other characters, Lily, Kaleb, Ava, Dune, Nate, Jack, and Cat, along with Emerson's older brother brother Thomas and his wife Dru, help to give the story substance and keep it moving. The thing that I like about the characters in this book is that they have depth. They're flawed, they have issues, they have good moments, and they have bad moments, and that's what I like to see in a novel.
The plot itself is totally different than anything I've read recently, which is awesome. It's not really spoiling anything by saying that a big part of the story is time travel and how the lives of the characters in this book are affected so completely by time travel. It's very interesting to see the manner in which Myra has approached the time travel idea. It's very original and fresh and consequently made me really excited about this book.
My only slight annoyance would be that at times the dialogue felt forced or didn't seem realistic. Other than that I totally loved this book. In fact, it's right up there in my top five books of the year.
So, I would give Hourglass 4.5 stars :) This is one I would definitely recommend checking out!