by J.H. Walker
Kindle Edition, 391 pages
Published January 25th 2013
She’s sixteen. He’s seventeen. They don’t know each other…at least not yet.
She has a secret and her whole life revolves around keeping it. Every few months and with little warning, she simply disappears, pulled into the past for hours or even days. She’s terrified it will happen in front of someone, changing her life forever. So far, the only witnesses have been her parents, and that didn’t end well. She has no control over it and no idea why it happens to her.
She wants answers.
He has answers—at least he understands what’s going on. He has a secret, too. He’s part of an organization that goes back in time to rewrite reality. But he also has a problem. He broke the organization’s number-one rule by altering his own timeline. As punishment, he’s been blocked from time travel, which is most unfortunate. Because the changes he made to his timeline, accidentally resulted in disaster for his family. A disaster he’s now prevented from repairing. No one can travel beneath the organization’s radar except a Shadow. But they’re rare, so rare he’s never even met one.
Then he moves to her town.
This is a YA romance with paranormal/sci-fi elements.
Check out this awesome trailer, you can see how both A.J. and Constantine has strange eyes, looks dilated that's how the time travelers look (its explained why in the book)
Wow, got to say I am stuck in this world, meaning the worst book hangover ever. I do not want to immerse myself in any other book, though I need to, but loved this book so much I just keep absorbing what I just read. Its longer than a lot of books I read, but I didn’t care, I loved is all, and just wanted to devour it all. I could easily read this again, now, but won’t, but know I will in the future. It’s that good!!
Also, it’s written so well, I mean, really, really well. I usually get a headache almost thinking of all the time travel stuff, but this is all explained and laid out for you so well, you just get it.
I loved these characters too. I was sucked into this world and fell in love with them all, I cared about them, and felt what they felt. I also really love the alternating points of view, it was consistently back and forth from the 2 main characters, A.J (Autumn) and Constantine, it was great being in both of their heads.
I found one part of the time traveling very interesting, intense, scary and funny too. Its when A.J. Accidently gets sucked back to the olden days, as she called it, yeah, cowboys and Indians, those days, and one part when she sprayed one of them with her modern pepper spray to ward off his offensive attack was hilarious. Lol.
See A.J. doesn’t know why she is like she is, she randomly gets pulled into the past, and has no control. She does not realize there are others like Constantine out there that are called Editors, who go into the past and rewrite small pieces on history to help the future.
Anyway she is a little different than they are, more powerful for starters, and she learns a lot about it when Constantine comes to her town. He helps her learn how to control it, and is also amazed at what she can do, like the healing others, that is special to her.
I found the part where Constantine first sees A.J. funny, he felt her energy and she feels his too but is not sure what it is. Here is a part of that, it’s from Constantine’s point of view:
The first girl was blonde, hot, and dressed to kill. I focused on the waves of energy radiating from her direction thinking this could be interesting. Then a smaller girl appeared from behind her and stopped short as if she’d hit a wall. Her book bag crashed to the floor. She clutched her chest and let out a gasp with her mouth in an O.
And the power practically lifted me out of my seat.
Every cell in my body electrified and stood at attention. It waved over me, sending synaptic brushfire through my nervous system. I was so startled; my own energy slipped a little—my bad—and probably slammed right into her.
She turned and tore out of the room.
Abruptly, the connection snapped like a rubber band. I slumped in my seat, gasping for air. Luckily, no one noticed, since everyone was focused on the fleeing girl. This all took place in the span of, say, five seconds. But it was one of those gonna-crash-my-car-slow-motion scenarios, where it seems like ten times as long. And to make things worse, I was almost certain I gave the kid a power-slam.
My bad, my frickin bad.
The blonde tossed her stuff on a desk and glanced at the teacher, who nodded. The blonde grabbed the fallen book bag and took off after the other girl.
I just sat there, stunned. I couldn’t believe it! It was the little chick.
Here is the scene that I mentioned earlier, where she is in the past, the old west days, and the Indian who is with the cowboys (he is a guide) is protecting A.J. So when he falls asleep, they decide to have a little “fun” with her, if you catch my drift, so here is that scene, and it had the Indian laughing too, lol.
Joe toppled towards me, losing his hold. The next second, he was inches from my face, hands on either side of me against the tree. His breath was hot and disgusting. Those beady eyes looked straight into mine. He smirked. And then he whispered in my ear, “We’re gonna have ourselves a little fun, Sweetheart.”
I don’t think so, I thought—not if I can help it.
I closed my eyes. I felt the tree behind me. Quickly, I sank into its vibration until I reached its core. I soaked up the power, pulling everything I could hold. I brought my legs in even tighter against my chest. Then, as hard as I could, I slammed my feet straight into Joe’s stomach.
I heard a loud grunt and then a thump.
I opened my eyes to see Joe twenty feet across the campsite, crash landing on the log by the Indian.
The Indian was up in a flash, knife in hand, looking stunned to see Joe on the ground. The shock made Edgar loosen his grip enough for me to reach my pepper spray. I whipped it out and squirted it behind my head. The hand on my face dropped, as Edgar howled, clutching his eyes. I screamed and spit out the filthy taste.
And then somehow, I was up the tree in two seconds flat, watching the scene from above.
Joe lay moaning in the dirt. The Indian just stood there looking up at me with his mouth open. Edgar was screaming bloody murder and rolling on the ground.
High in the tree, my heart pounded like a hummingbird on speed. I looked down and realized that the lowest limb had to be…ten, maybe fifteen feet from the ground. The cottonwood had drawn me up like a Slurpee straw. One moment I was on land and the next I…and how had I kicked Joe clear across the campsite? I’d hoped for a little extra strength from using the tree power, but that had been cartoon kickboxing. I couldn’t make sense of it.
Yes, this book is captivating for sure. Those scenes are just a very few of the awesomeness of this book. I do not want to say too much more. I want to keep this as spoiler free as I can. I really recommend you pick this book up. It made a huge impact on me, and I hope others get a chance to enjoy it as much as I did.
I give this 5 out of 5 huge mega sized stars. Its one of my favorite books now, and can’t wait for the sequel. (no cliffhanger, so that’s cool) I just love Constantine and need more of him!
I received this book from the author for my honest review.
This review is also posted at Amazon Here,
and Goodreads here.
This review is also posted at Amazon Here,
and Goodreads here.
Excerpt of Chapter one
A.J. Jones, Boulder, Colorado, present day.
I killed my mother.
Okay, I didn’t exactly shoot her or stab her in the back or anything. But if I’d never been born, she’d still be here, simple as that.
Guilt by existence.
It wasn’t premeditated mom-slaughter—I’m not some monster. But it was my strangeness that did her in, no doubt about it. If you saw me, you’d never believe one skinny, sixteen-year-old girl could be responsible for so much tragedy.
But you’d be wrong.
An ancient curse says, “May you live in interesting times,” meaning dangerous and turbulent. That pretty much sums up my life. I mean, when your very existence in time is out of control, life can get prettyinteresting. Every few months, I get yanked back in time for hours or even days. I don’t know why. I don’t know when. I have absolutely no control over it. I feel a tingle, and seconds later, I just shimmer, fade, and poof, I’m in the past.
My biggest fear was that it would happen at school, and before you could say, “Did you see that?” I’d be the next viral freak on YouTube. It would be a short walk from YouTube to a government laboratory somewhere remote. Yeah, like I wanted that to happen. My strategy was to fade into the woodwork, so if I vanished at school, no one would even notice.
The first time I disappeared, I was six months old. In the beginning, my trips were short, and I was only gone about a minute. Of course I don’t remember this happening, but I’d heard the story a million times. It was the primary topic at my house…until my mom checked out.
I was born in the fall. By spring, I had just learned to sit up and was grabbing everything I could get my hands on. It had been a long, cold winter, and my mom had waited weeks for it to warm up enough to show me the tree house. Built with love by her grandfather, it had always been her special place. Once inside, she lifted me up to touch the trunk that rose right through the middle of the room. And as soon as my tiny hand touched the bark—BAM, I was gone.
She totally freaked—I was in her arms one moment and simply gone the next. But before she could do anything other than just stand there in shock, I morphed back into existence fast asleep with my thumb in my mouth…or so the story goes.
If that had been the end of it, maybe she could have dealt…chalked it up to too much caffeine or something. But it kept happening two or three times a year, just enough to keep her on edge. The problem was that every time I disappeared—which wasn’t all that often, but still—my mom was the only witness.
She told her friends, but they just looked at her funny and began avoiding her. She tried desperately to convince my dad, Sam. But since he never saw it happen, what could he say? Talk about a rock and a hard place. He wanted to believe her, but he just couldn’t. Sam was a scientist. He needed evidence.
My mom tried a few times to get me to tell my dad—and I did. But Sam thought I was saying what she wanted me to say—you know, siding with my mom out of loyalty. I mean, I was disappearing, but I was just a kid. What did I know? I was confused and too young to make sense of it then. I just wanted them to not fight about it.
It was a dangerous equation. Scientist/nonbelieving dad + I-swear-it-really-happened mom = seriously-screwed-up-no-win situation.
They argued about it constantly. I’d listen to them late at night, huddled outside their door, wrapped in a blanket. My mom would lay out her argument, and Sam would bring in science. She’d say she saw it happen. Sam would say it was impossible. It tore them apart. Finally she gave up talking about it. Sam pretended she’d be fine if she got enough rest. I just hid in the tree house with my friends, Lex and Ipod.
I was seven the last time she saw it happen. That one was the last straw. She totally lost it. The doctors gave her drugs, and she walked around like a zombie, barely recognizing Sam and me. She started talking to herself, mumbling, and watching me like a hawk. She got all twitchy and jumped at the slightest noise. She lost her appetite.
It was another dangerous equation, this time for my mom. Disappearing kid + disappearing’s impossible = she must be crazy.
Near the end, she got caught up remembering her Grandpa Charlie, staying up all night, looking through photo albums. She was obsessed about his going crazy, thinking the same thing was happening to her, that it was genetic. Finally, I think, it was just too hard living with the uncertainty. So one day she took a boatload of pills and made the uncertainty go away.
At least for her.
My world got cold and empty real fast. I got through the funeral…barely. I never would have made it without Lex and Ipod. But I survived.
Then about a month later, Sam and I were alone in the back yard, and I felt the tingle. Looking down, I saw that I was starting to shimmer. I remember being so surprised. Somehow I thought it would all stop when my mom was gone…like maybe the craziness was because of her. That’s when I realized that everything—our whole, weird family nightmare—was my fault.
I looked up from my shimmering hands at Sam. He was staring at me as if he’d seen a ghost. I felt this hollow feeling in my chest…a dark, frigid emptiness. And then I disappeared right in front of a supremely stunned Sam.
I was only gone a few minutes. But when I returned, he was standing there, rigid as a statue, tears running down his face. I walked up to him and touched his hand, waiting for him to say something. He looked down at me with empty eyes and didn’t say a word. He just walked into the house, poured himself a drink, and that’s about all he’s done ever since. He’s never talked about it…not even once.
My guess is it wasn’t so much the shock of his reality blasting apart, or even the mysteriousness of my disappearance. It was the realization that he let my mom down. That he’d failed her. That she was right all those years and he was wrong. So now he’s following in her footsteps…via slow motion alcohol poisoning.
I suppose I’m at fault for taking him out too.
There was no explanation for the way I was, although I spent a lot of time over the years trying to figure it out. If time travel had been the only weirdness, I would have pounced on the theory that I was just a normal girl who was being acted upon by some unexplained outside force. Like maybe I’d gotten caught up in some kind of bizarre time loop that kept sweeping me into the past for little stretches of time. As scary as that sounds, I would have loved that to be the answer. I really wanted to be a normal girl.
But somewhere along the line, I had come to accept the inevitable. It wasn’t an outside force. What was strange was me.
For as long as I remember, I’ve sensed things other people don’t. Ipod was the one who first called it “energy.” There are two types. The energy from trees, especially my tree, was soothing and healing. It kept me sane. The energy from out in the world, especially inside buildings and around crowds, was dissonant and jarring. It took a lot out of me just to manage it.
To minimize the impact and protect my secret, I kept a low profile and went virtually nowhere. But the one place I couldn’t avoid was school. To make it through, I had the code of invisibility. It had ten rules and I stuck to them religiously. At that moment, as I made my way down the noisy hall to P.E., I was following rules three and four—hug the walls and keep flowing in the direction you’re heading.
It worked well except for the snarky glare I got from Sloane Cheney, AKA the Bratz Doll, as I passed her ginormous, cheerleader chest. That chest was a powerful force at Boulder High. She carried it around like a display case, thrusting her “twins” in everyone’s faces as if she was selling popcorn at a ballgame. I’m guessing they each have names—cute ones. She probably sings them to sleep at night.
Why do I care?
Well, it’s her belief in the spectacularness of that chest that she thinks entitles her to step all over girls like me, who are, shall we say, cleavage-challenged. But it’s not my chest or lack thereof that makes her treat me like dirt. She’s hated me since seventh grade when my essay won over hers in some stupid, mandatory contest. It wasn’t my fault she bragged that she was going to win and then looked like a dork when she didn’t.
But her hatred of me meant she was invulnerable to my invisibility. That made her dangerous. I avoided her like the freakin West Nile virus, but then, I avoided pretty much everyone. When you are my kind of strange, you do whatever it takes to stay under the radar.
My downfall was P.E.
If my brain had a search engine and you entered “things that suck,” the very first entry would be P.E. I hated it with a vengeance. It isn’t that I’m clumsy. I’m not. There’s just something about school that seems to drain the life out of me, literally decimating my strength by the hour. The longer I’m in a building, the weaker I get—brick buildings in particular. And crowds, especially loud ones, make my brain whack-out.
That made P.E. my kryptonite.
By my seventh period class, there was no way I could possibly get a ball over a net, or through a hoop, or to do whatever stupid ball thing the sport required. And since the Bratz Doll was in my class, it was a double hit. Still, her I could ignore. The bigger problem was that I had nothing to hide behind. More specifically, I had no hoodie.
I felt naked.
Waiting till the last minute, I snuck through the locker room and into a bathroom stall to change. No way was I going to brave the bench area. There was the routine fight over who had to take me on their team—the highlight of my day. That done, I played my usual game of keep-out-of-the-way with some degree of success, occupying myself with mental chatter and stealth wall hugging. I did okay with that until my mind wandered a little too far, and I lost my ball-avoiding focus.
“Move it, Moron!”
I jumped backwards, almost getting slammed by a kid twice my size.
“Keep out of the freaking way you stupid, little twerp,” growled the Bratz Doll, two inches from my ear. “I’m not going to have my team lose points because of your worthless ass. Next time you’re going down.”
I ignored her, following rule four, but the empty feeling in my chest grew a little colder. I shoved it down deep and checked the clock for the hundredth time. Come on already…let this class be over!
Finally, Ms. Norris blew her whistle, and the hordes rushed from the gym. I waited till the crowd thinned, and the Bratz Doll was gone, before I braved the locker room.
The empty feeling lifted a little, the moment I pulled on my oversized black hoodie. I zipped it up and yanked the hood, so it hung down like Kenny on South Park. I put on my tinted glasses. I slung my bag over my shoulder. Then I hugged the walls on the way to my locker, relieved once again, to be invisible.
About the Author
My life has been rather unconventional. Born insanely curious into an authoritarian, religious family, I know what it’s like to not fit in. My teen years were a struggle, and I remember them in all their intensity. That’s why I like writing for young adults.
I grew up in Central America, surrounded by jungle, and was never too far from the ocean. I observed other cultures, including an indigenous tribe that, at the time, had seen little of the modern world. While there, I slept in a hammock in a bamboo hut, dressed in tribal clothing, and helped bring three babies into the world in at the tender age of fourteen. I survived a hurricane aboard an ocean liner, canoeing through alligator infested waters, P.E., my brother’s pet tarantulas, sky diving, parasailing over the Pacific shoreline, rock climbing, a ropes course blindfolded, and walking barefoot across hot coals. I’m not done having experiences.
I attended the University of Colorado, Boulder, but was so obsessed in my quest to understand human behavior; I left midstream to travel the country and study with people doing groundbreaking work in the field. I’m certified in Ericksonian Hypnosis, am a Master of Neuro-linguistic Programming, and have worked with world-class athletes, including members of the U.S. Ski Team. I’ve completed advanced studies with some of the most brilliant minds of my time in the field of NLP and am a perpetual student of sociology and human behavior.
I live with my photographer husband in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. I’m surrounded by trees. And I will always remain insanely curious.