The premise of Flutter caught my interest, despite the truly hideous cover (I get what they were going for, but seriously?). Seventeen-year-old Emery Land experiences such frequent seizures that she spends most of her time in the hospital. Emery doesn't think that she is having seizures at all -- she believes that in her "loops", as she calls them, she is time-traveling. Her experiences are too vivid to be dreams, and she comes back with knowledge that she couldn't otherwise have. Her medical team, led by her distant father, doesn't believe her. They do, however, consider her worthy of top-secret study.
The action in Flutter begins when Emery escapes the hospital, following clues that she has gleaned from her loops to a small town on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There she finds a dash of freedom, and a compelling bond with handsome, tormented teen Ash. On the run from Emery's father (and Ash's demons), Ash and Emery try to solve the riddle of Emery's loops. Before she disappears altogether.
I found the plot in Flutter intriguing. It certainly kept me turning the pages. And I quite liked the small town setting and mildly quirky characters of Esperanza, MI. However, I didn't totally buy in to the love story. It may be that I'm just burned out on the whole 'inexplicable and immediate bond / inability to resist one another' concept. Or that Linko doesn't execute this as well as, say, Laini Taylor or Maggie Stiefvater. But whatever the case, I wasn't completely on board with Emery and Ash.
However, I did like Emery, a physically frail but surprisingly strong girl in an impossible situation. Her relationships with others (father, best friend, and various people encountered in her loops) were multi-layered and plausible. And the resolution of Emery's loop situation surprised me (not easy to do these days).
Here are a couple of examples of Linko's writing, to give you a feel for the book:
"I would forget how do these sort of automatic things--tie my shoes, stuff like that--after an episode. And then they started getting more violent, like with my shoulder, when I broke my collarbone a couple of years ago. Dad got interested then. My EEG showed completely unorganized, uncoordinated firings of impulses in my brain while I'm in the loop--when I time-travel." (Page 40)
"Betsy's was warm and softly lit, the smells every bit as welcoming as I had hoped they would be. The bakery was small, mostly taken up by a large glass display counter, showing off cookies, eclairs, donuts, scones, cakes, and pastries of all kinds. I sat down at a little bistro table in the corner, next to a small Christmas tree complete with a pink satin ribbon garland. I smiled as I realized that each ornament on the tree was a miniature cake, cup of coffee, or something to do with the bakery. Elvis's Christmas album played over the speakers." (Page 65)
She can definitely set a scene. There's also an apt comparison of the small town to the town from the movie Back to the Future. I found Esperanza easy to visualize, and enjoyable to visit. Flutter would be a good pre-Christmas read, with lots of holiday trappings. If the idea of someone mentally traveling somewhere (and/or sometime) else during seizures captures your imagination, then Flutter is well worth a look. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 23, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).