The Edge of Forever: Melissa E. Hurst
June 02, 2015
Book: The Edge of Forever
Author: Melissa E. Hurst
Age Range: 12 and up
The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. Hurst is a young adult novel told in the alternating viewpoints of a boy from 2146 "New Denver", Colorado and a girl from 2013 small town Georgia.
Bridger is a cadet for the Department of Temporal Affairs, an organization that uses time travel to visit and videotape historical events, creating immersion videos for the general population (only a select few are genetically able to perform the time travel). When Bridger receives a message left by his recently deceased father, he sets out on a quest to find a girl named Alora, from 2013.
Alora has lived in Georgia with her aunt since she was six, and has only a few fragmented memories of her parents. She's newly attending public high school, after being homeschooled, and is having difficulty adjusting, as well as difficulty with a stalker-ish boy. There are mysteries around Alora's parentage (which Alora and Bridger are both trying to solve) as well as suspense around the fact that Bridger, in the future, has seen Alora's July, 2013 obituary.
I found the mysteries about Alora intriguing, and I also found her to be an engaging character. She ends up telling her aunt quite a few lies, but she regrets it every time. Her interpersonal struggles at school felt mainly realistic (though I found her nemesis, Trevor, to be a bit over the top). And I found her weakness for sweets charming.
I was a bit less taken with Bridger, who regularly has to take "Calmer" to keep himself from "wilding out", and who hates his admittedly not very nice mother. Here's a scene in which Bridger encounters some "Purists", people who don't approve of the genetic modifications that allow time travel (and other things):
"Like I said, the Purists are a bunch of idiots.
I stand in front of the museum for a few moments... A group of tourists are standing on the rear porch listening to a lecture given by a pudgy, balding man. I don't understand how they're staying awake."
He has better moments, of course, but I preferred Alora. Still, the alternating viewpoints add to the suspense of the story - we can leave one narrator at a cliffhanger, and return to the other. We know from Bridger that Alora is due to die soon, but Alora, of course, doesn't know that. Each chapter lists the narrator and the date at the top, to help readers keep things straight. I sometimes have trouble keeping track of who is speaking in books with alternating narrators, but I had no problem like that here. Bridger and Alora, and their voices, are quite distinct.
Ultimately, it was figuring out what was going on with Alora that kept me reading, and will bring me back for what must be (at least) a Book 2. Hurst answers the main questions about Alora in The Edge of Forever, but opens up new ones in the book's final scenes. Although there are some scenes set in 2146, this first book, at least, takes place mainly in 2013, and is more about relationships than technology. Still, I think that fans of time travel stories will enjoy this one. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Source of Book: Advanced digital review copy
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