Book review: Tempest by Julie Cross

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It’s September 9th 2007 and student Jackson Meyer knows for sure that October 30th 2009 is going to be the worst day of his life.

His beautiful girlfriend Holly will be shot by two ruthless gunmen and it will all be his fault... unless he can go back to the future and save her.

This intriguing dilemma is the launch pad for Tempest, the first of a thrilling new young adult trilogy from debut novelist Julie Cross, and it comes as no surprise that readers are already chomping at the bit for the next instalment.

A complex and captivating mix of time-travel, romance, action, suspense and mystery form the basis of this amazing sci-fi epic which blends the love elements of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife with the computer-hacking antics of The Matrix.

Cross has a fresh and invigorating writing style which makes her dialogue fizz and enables an engaging cast of distinctive characters to become palpably real.

Coupled with a unique, morally and socially aware time-travel plot, fascinating science theories, ingenious twists and turns and plenty of tender and tear-jerking emotion, this is a book guaranteed to keep teens and adults alike on the edge of their seats.

Jackson Meyer is 19 years old – he’s clever, funny, has a tendency to step in where angels fear to tread and has a bad habit of saying the wrong thing, particularly to his long-suffering girlfriend Holly.

He also has a secret, one that he only shares with his unlikely friend Adam Silverman, a science geek who is also a ‘bad-boy-hacking-into-government-websites kinda geek.’

Jackson has discovered that he can travel backwards through time ... he can’t go into the future so he can’t do anything really exciting like find out who wins the big sporting occasions and the most he’s ever ‘jumped’ is about six hours into the past.

Adam is interested in all the hard-core science of time travelling while Jackson finds it useful for having fun with girls.

That is until his girlfriend Holly is shot when two men break into her college room in an attempt to kidnap Jackson. Before he knows what is happening, he has jumped back two years and this time there is no way to get back.

He’s back at high school and has to start courting Holly all over again ... with the complication of knowing that two years down the line she will be gunned down in cold blood unless he can find a way to rescue her.

As Jackson explores his time-travel powers, he discovers that his father has a secret involvement with a sinister government agency called Tempest and that there are evil forces who want to harness Jackson’s powers to alter the course of history.

The teenager has no idea who he can and cannot trust and if he makes the wrong decision, the repercussions will be too terrible to contemplate...

Tempest’s original plot allows a broad canvas on which Cross can paint a diverse and diverting story with plenty of room for pulsating action, wry humour and moments of heart-breaking pathos.

It’s a winning formula and one which is sure to make this series a reading sensation.

(Macmillan, hardback, £9.99)