'Hourglass': 'Dr. Who' In A YA Package

HourglassFull disclosure: When a cabal of book bloggers started urging us back in June to write about Myra McEntire's "Hourglass," I was skeptical. Were they getting paid or something? Going all investigative journalist on my peers didn't seem called for, so I just went ahead and got the book. The verdict? Um, I don't care what their motives were. They were right. This should be your next Summer Beach Read.

For the past four years, Emerson Cole has been convinced she is crazy. She sees dead people. Well, people who are very clearly from the past and are probably dead. They appear to be going about their business, not looking particularly ghostly, though dressed for the wrong era. If she reaches out to touch them—pop!—they disappear, but often not until after other people have witnessed Emerson's conversation with thin air. The visions started happening just before her parents died in a tragic accident, and they only went away when she was locked up in a mental institution, heavily medicated. She kept it under control while away at boarding school, but for her senior year, Emerson is forced to come back to her quaint Tennessee hometown to live with her brother, Thomas, and sister-in-law.

We have that well-meaning brother to thank for hiring Michael, a consultant from an organization called the Hourglass that's supposed to help Emerson with her visions. Much to her surprise, and our delight, Michael also happens to be an irresistibly gorgeous young college student. He has visions too, only his are from the future. Though he's vowed to Thomas that his relationship with Em will be strictly business, the two have the kind of crackling chemistry that causes blackouts. By the way, he's not there to cure any visions, he's there to get Emerson onboard for a very risky mission.

Without spoiling any more, I'll just tell you that first-time novelist Myra has managed to combine a bunch of different elements here: sci-fi, fantasy, a teenage love story, a very realistic portrayal of grief and loss, and some pretty interesting descriptions of architecture and fashion of the past and present. Amazingly, it doesn't feel like she's cramming too many genres into one. The whole package flies by, like sand through the hourglass, and...let me spare you any more mixed metaphors. It's a fun, fast, tear-jerking read and no, no one paid me to say that.

Have you read "Hourglass"? What books have you devoured this summer?