What a book! I don't even know where to start. I'm fascinated with time travel stories since Diana Gabaldon published Outlander in the 1990s. I guess the possibility of manipulating something in the past responds to most of us.
Hourglass is the story of Emerson, Em for friends. Very soon you realise that Em isn't the normal kind of senior high school girl. First of all she sees shapes/people who nobody else can see and because of this she secondly doesn't think very highly of herself. Though Em is only 17, she already went through a lot. She started seeing things with 13, shortly afterwards her parents died, she completely broke down, was institutionalised, went to boarding school and is now back in her hometown, living with her brother and sister-in-law and isn't taking her medicine anymore. She only has only friend left and is quite lonely. Her worried brother enlists the mysterious Hourglass institute to help Em with her "visions". And then it happens, Em meets for the first time in her life someone, who can see the shape as well. In addition there is an immediate bodily attraction between Em and the enigmatic Hourglass consultant Michael, who is only a few years older then Em. And now the story really gets started.
I don't want to give away too much. The plot is fast paced, full of interesting details, unpredictable and there are more twists and turns then you can imagine. Always when I thought I knew where the story is leading to something unexpected happened. It really keeps you on your toes.
Em is an unusual heroine. First she seemed so broken, vulnerable and lost. But then you realise she has an inner core made of steel. But she ist doubting herself so much. It was fascinating to read about her inner battle to keep her sanity, to distinguish between real and unreal.
Michael, her potential love interest, is very puzzling. You don't know a lot about him. He hides many secrets but he obviously cares for Em and her state of mind. But it's not always clear if he has more then the obvious reasons to seek her out.
The tension between the two of them his described amazingly realistic. It's sizzling and there are so much feelings involved. Very interesting.
The supporting characters, which I can't say a lot about without giving away too much, are multifaceted and add to the overall story development. I hope we get to know more about them in the next book.
The only thing which annoyed me was Michaels withholding of information. There was too much guessing and waiting for informations. But that's just a minor point.
Altogether this story is suspense-packed, creative and I will definitely pick up the second book in this series. Well done for a debut novel!