The Hourglass Door (Hourglass Door, #1)

First Lines: It is the counting that saves him.  The darkness has robbed him of nearly all his senses; he fears his sanity is next.

I saw this in a Barnes & Noble years ago, and I thought the cover and the description looked super interesting.  I added it to my to-read list and promptly forgot about it until it managed to work its way to the top of my to-read list.

Abby’s senior year is perfect: great boyfriend, great friends, good grades, plans to attend college.  But that’s all before she meets Dante Alexander, an Italian exchange student who turns Abby’s world upside down.  He’s mysterious and interesting…and weird things seem to happen when he’s around.  Time sometimes moves too fast or too slow when she’s around him.  When the band Zero Hour plays at a local club, Abby realizes there’s something dangerous about the lead singer, Zo, and his bandmates, Tony and V.  Oddly, they’re also from Italy and seem to know Dante.  When Abby’s best friend Valerie gets caught in their snare, Abby turns to Dante for help and gets answers she never expected to get…because really, how can time travel be real?

This book was published in 2009…and it’s structurally like basically every other YA novel of the time, primarily maybe the Twilight series.  Sigh.  It was just so utterly formulaic.  Girl meets boy, girl gets hots for boy, boy starts acting weird and dropping small clues about his past, girl freaks, girl needs boy’s help…on and on.  Even the characters felt formulaic.  Dante’s mysterious and dangerous and only drops clues about himself when he feels like it.  Abby is popular-but-not-popular.

I’m not saying I didn’t like the characters.  I mean, Abby has a lot of heart and Dante is clearly very smart.  (Did that just rhyme?)  But they just didn’t feel like unique characters.  Every time I read a scene, I just kind of sighed and went, “Yeah, he’s sharing qualities with this hero…and here she’s being this heroine…” In two months, I probably won’t be able to tell you much about them.  They were forgettable.

The plot never really came out and surprised me either.  It felt like the author had a checklist in front of her going, “Oh, sci-fi/time travel stories have these elements in them.  Must make sure I get all of these in!”  I just…sigh.  I will give it a little credit and say that when it jumped back in time (as rarely as it did that), that stuff was pretty creative.  But the present-day stuff was too typical.

I do give the author kudos for all of the famous literary references she made.  From Much Ado About Nothing to Dante’s Inferno and Keats, she was all over the board with them.  That was cool, though some of the quotations were quite long and I just skipped reading over them.

Overall, the story does have a formulaic and slightly-unoriginal feel to it, but I was still somehow called back to the book.  So something about it got my attention in a good way.

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