Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Emerson Cole has been through a lot. She has lost both of her parents in a tragic accident while on a family ski vacation, she had a mental breakdown and was committed to an institution and, oh yeah, she sees dead people. Her brother, Thomas and his wife Dru have taken guardianship of Emerson and her brother has tried specialist after "specialist" to help Emerson with the people that she is seeing. They finally find some help when Michael Weaver from someplace called Hourglass (which is just as mysterious as the people that Emerson sees). Finally, Emerson finds a kindred spirit (literally--their connection is so strong it causes lights to short out) who knows exactly what she what she is dealing with. Michael sees the same people that Emerson does. Michael is able to answer most of Emerson's questions. And, oh yeah, Michael wants Emerson to help him travel to the past to save his mentor. Emerson must trust her delicate state of mind to a vitual stranger who wants her to do the craziest sounding thing.
Emerson was one of the most awesome characters I have read in a while. I loved her. I loved her snark. I loved her toughness. I loved that all the stuff she had to overcome still ended up leaving her in a (mostly) strong emotional state. I loved her devotion to her friends and family (and their devotion to her). After all that she had been through she definitely knew what she wanted to do and didn't take direction well when it went against what she believed was best for her. As a karate brown belt she could use more than just words to get her point across (and she didn't hesitate to do that either). The relationship she has with her brother (who is quite a few years older than Emerson) was a pleasure to read, as was Emerson's relationships with her sister-in-law and her best friend Lily (who has an interesting power of her own.
The other highlight of this book was that Hourglass turns out to be something like the school from X-Men. The unique and interesting characters in residence made for a deeper experience than having it just be something that we experience only through Emerson and Michael. In comparison with the last time travel book I read and reviewed (Ruby Red) I had a much better experience. Emerson was a just overall a much stronger and amusing character. The supporting characters had bettrt relationships with the main characters and the story was much more defined. Even though Hourglass is part of a series there was actually a conclusion to the time travel mission. And, Myra McEntire is, in my opinion, a very amusing writer with Emerson's quick wit and the great reparte between Emerson and the people that surround her was the best icing on the cake I've experienced in a book since Carter Finally Gets It. If somebody had to choose between a recently released book that has a time travel theme I would definitely pick Emerson and Michael over Gwyneth and Gideon.