Author: Julie Cross
Release Date: January 17, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Teen/YA, Science Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s 2009, and Jackson Meyer is nineteen years old. He has the same interests as any other guy his age – for example, his girlfriend, Holly. But Jackson has a big secret, one he hasn’t shared with anyone except a close friend. He can jump through time, but only to the past, never to the future. What he does in the past won’t change anything, as things will correct themselves. He enjoys his time jumps, but then the unthinkable happens – someone attacks Jackson and Holly, and Jackson ends up stuck in 2007, unable to get back to the present. In order to get back to the present and save Holly’s life, Jackson must find out more about his ability and why someone would want to harm him.
Tempest is a YA/adult crossover novel with a unique premise – a time-jumper who can wreak havoc upon his own past. Jackson can jump back in time and change anything he wants, but it doesn’t affect his present. It means he can go and talk to his twin sister, who died years ago, but nothing he can do can save her. There’s a certain tragedy to Jackson’s ability – he has the power to time travel, but the inability to change anything for the better. In some ways, it’s a blessing, but in others, it’s a curse. When all the rules change on Jackson all of a sudden, he doesn’t know what to think.
After Jackson’s jump to the past, he adjusts to his new circumstances quickly, but is a little frustrating nonetheless. His preoccupation with Holly is understandable, as she might be dead in his true present and he wants to save her, as is his impulse to seek her out and make sure she’s okay in his new (2007) present. But he continues to be slightly obsessed with her, which is a little frustrating because it’s clear there is so much that’s happening that’s bigger than just Holly. It would be nice if Jackson would gain some perspective, especially in future novel, but of course, he’s wont to act like a teenager.
The worldbuilding in Tempest is really great. Cross keeps the reader in the dark for the first half of the novel; it’s only through Jackson’s experiments that he knows what his limits are. But then, the book takes a turn, and all of a sudden the reader is inundated with information. It’s fascinating and well done, making the reader feel as if their flailing in the dark with Jackson has paid off. Cross also elevates the scale of the novel, making it about more than just Jackson and Holly. I’m eager to see where she takes this aspect in future novels, as Tempest is the first in a projected trilogy.
Overall, Tempest is a gripping, exciting read. Though there is a bit of teen angst that I didn’t love, Cross handled it well. Jackson is mature enough to understand the scale of what’s happening, especially once things are explained to him, and though he has a mischievous streak a mile wide, it’s clear that he’s a good guy. He makes a great main character with a fascinating ability, and even if you’re not a fan of traditional YA novels, you should consider picking this novel up for its unique premise.