One of the things I love about YA fiction is that it can be powerful, gripping, and meaningful all at the same time, without taking itself too seriously. Does anyone else feel that some adult fiction tries too hard to be "literary" and just comes across as boring or pretentious? Not young adult fiction. The characters' voices are real, even when the genre is science fiction. It has heart and soul. But don't get me wrong, it can be equally - if not more - vivid, descriptive, prosaic than many of the adult fiction novels are. It just feels more seamless and less showy. And no offense to adult fiction authors. I definitely don't feel that way about all of them. I have many favorite adult authors as well.
One of the YA books that I've read this summer was fantastical, but set in the modern time which gives it the right amount of believability. I love to imagine the possibility that these supernatural or magical elements could actually exist in our mundane world.
This book, which I couldn't put down (Hurray! Since getting pregnant, anything that keeps me awake past ten pages is WONDERFUL!) - was Hourglass by Myra McEntire. I thought it would be a ghost story since the main character, Emerson Cole, seems to have visions of the past. It turns out, she's a time traveller. Cool concept, right? Her dark past and emotional baggage kept me interested in her and the characters she meets in her journey to understand herself and her abilities are mysterious and interesting as well.
These other characters, who also happen to have "powers," find Emerson and ask for her help in saving the life of their beloved scholar and friend. He was murdered in a fire months before. Emerson agrees to help them return to the past to pull him out before it's too late. There is a bit of a love triangle to spice up her personal life - although it is pretty obvious from the start who her top choice is. Also, there is the obligatory villain (fire-starter) to complicate her life. However, things are not exactly as they seem, which adds a nice twist to the plot.
I did have trouble at times wrapping my mind around the time travel technicalities - I always have gotten a bit confused with this topic, so it's probably just me. But this novel was worth reading for simple enjoyment - nothing too taxing or deep or emotional, which is exactly what I needed at the time.
If you get the chance, read this book. It goes by quickly and is a nice break from real life.