Billed as edgy science fiction, this novel’s high-tech trappings conceal a genre romance with a hidden agenda.
Emery’s always had seizures that she experiences as time travel (she calls them “looping”). Increasingly disabling, they’ve weakened her body. Now she lives in the hospital, monitored by her widowed, neurologist father and his soulless scientist colleagues. While the looping experiences feel happy and serene, the transitions are killers. Emery’s kinder, gentler future father warns her they’ll get worse. A little boy she meets while time traveling urgently needs her help, and following his clues, Emery flees the hospital for a town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Arriving, she notes, “Lawns were clutter-free, the shrubs trimmed even in this cold season. And there were no paint-chipped houses, no screen doors with holes. This was a place that people took pride in. I liked it.” Residents bearing European names exude rural worth. By now readers are aware they’re not in edgy, sci-fi country anymore, Toto, but metaphorical Kansas, and—iPod notwithstanding—Emery is 17 going on 75. Once she meets handsome, tortured Asher, her transformation is complete. Linko, who’s authored Christian children’s fiction, writes smoothly. Her story holds readers’ interest, but the ending’s bait-and-switch strategy—following shifts in tone and sharp turns in plotting (untied strings dangling)—will leave them feeling manipulated.
Science fiction in name only. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)