Sunday, December 27, 2015

No True Echo by Gareth P. Jones

A gripping time-travel novel guaranteed to make you think yourself in circles.

Eddie lives with his grandmother, who is keeping secrets about Eddie's mother, and has a ho-hum life in dull Wellcome Valley until Scarlett White boards his school bus one day. After she comes along, Eddie witnesses a horrific murder and then finds himself returned to the first day he met her, and realizes he is the only one with any memory of her.

Although the ending is a little unsatisfying, overall this is one book that you can't bear to put down. This time-travel thriller, faintly reminiscent of the film Groundhog Day is sure to be a hit with both time-travel fans and reluctant readers and would spark great discussions about time travel, causal loops, and ethics in any book club.

Other Reviews
from Barnes & Noble

Publishers Weekly 07/20/2015Eddie Dane’s life in the British town of Wellcome Valley is as predictable as it is dull: ride the bus with his friend Angus, take care of his depressed grandmother after school, feel slightly sorry for himself for having grown up without a mother, and repeat. When a redheaded girl named Scarlett shows up in town, strange things start happening, and suddenly Eddie is pulled into a repetitive loop of an entirely different kind: he starts “echo jumping” back to the same Thursday when Scarlett first arrived. In some of the altered time lines that follow, Eddie’s mother is alive; in others, Eddie is murdered. Skipping between Eddie’s story and a future in which so-called echo technology has reshaped life, Jones (Constable & Toop) offers a roller-coaster of a story that drives forward one moment, then yanks itself backward again. This playful time-bending saga twists in, out, and around so often that readers are forced to stay on their toes, but the effort is well worth it as Jones introduces heady ideas about memory, reality, and existence. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)

VOYA, August 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 3) - Laura Woodruff 
Fifteen-year-old Eddie Dane is convinced that his hometown of Wellcome Valley is the most boring place on earth—that is, until the morning Scarlett White boards his school bus and sits near him. At first speechless, Eddie finally manages to hold conversations with the beautiful newcomer who is strangely interested in the death of Melody Dane, Eddie’s mother. Eddie knows nothing except what his grandmother Ruby has told him: Melody died in a tragic car crash off Death Drop Point when Eddie was an infant. Things become more complicated when Eddie follows a spying Scarlett to the home of English teacher Mr. Cornish. Impossible events begin, and Scarlett refuses to explain them because she must observe “protocol.” Eddie is overwhelmed when he follows Scarlett to a house occupied by mad scientist David Maguire, whose body lies on the floor, and finds her wounded by shotgun-toting Cornish. Held together by police officer Liphook, who investigates the Maguire murder, the novel is written in flashback form. Only near the end does the reader understand what echo technology is and why Eddie suffers so many catastrophic experiences. Funny and endearing, Eddie and his best friend, Angus, anchor readers in a complex plot involving repeating time loops and scientific overreach. Award-winning British author Gareth has a gem in No True Echo. Reviewer: Laura Woodruff; Ages 11 to 18.

School Library Journal 09/01/2015Gr 7 Up—Eddie Dane and his best friend, Angus, are convinced Wellcome Valley is the world's most boring town, but things perk up when Scarlett White boards their bus one morning. Eddie feels drawn toward Scarlett, and isn't even annoyed when she starts asking questions about his mother's death or his relationship with his bipolar grandmother; in fact, he's intrigued enough to accompany her on an unexplained trip to a remote farmhouse. There, he witnesses a murder, and when the gun is turned on him, he suddenly finds himself back on the school bus the same day he met Scarlett. Stuck in a repeating time loop and unsure of whom to trust, Eddie pieces together the puzzle of the world as he knows it and the world as he doesn't. This work is high on suspense, sucking readers in from the first page. Alternating perspectives give glimpses into the future, hinting at events that may or may not take place, though never revealing enough to give away any secrets. Characters, even those with demons, are likable and authentic, realistically portraying the challenges of loving one's family through difficult times. While the ending feels a bit rushed and unsatisfying, overall it's an interesting look at time travel and fate that never strays into didacticism. VERDICT A mind-bending time-travel novel good for general purchase.—Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, La Crosse Public Library, WI

Kirkus Reviews 2015-07-15Life in scenic but soggy Wellcome Valley is so dull that figuring out what to do during midterm break poses a major challenge until Scarlett White climbs on Eddie's school bus and starts to unravel his world. An infant when his scientist single mother died in a car crash, Eddie lives with his artist grandmother, loving but unstable, and hangs out with his best friend, Angus. Like the valley, home and school are predictably boring. Mr. Cornish, their passionately opinionated English teacher, livens things up when he assigns Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, making it an object lesson on hubris and abuses of power. As their friendship grows, Scarlett asks Eddie probing questions about his mother's death yet is stubbornly secretive about herself. Smitten and intrigued, Eddie contrives to run into her outside school and discovers her spying on Mr. Cornish. Following her, Eddie witnesses a horrific murder that may be tied to his own parentage, then abruptly finds himself back on the school bus with Angus the day they met Scarlett—except this time she doesn't get on the school bus, and only Eddie remembers she existed. Eddie's voice is likable, smart without being snarky or florid. At once a classic time-travel narrative and resonant fable about the price to be paid when we alter our world simply because we can, this smart, satisfying eco-techno-thriller with heart transcends genre. (Science fiction. 12-18)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting -- I love books that prompt discussions on ethics!