First chapters revealed from romantic time-travel thriller 'Tempest' -- EXCLUSIVE

The most important element of any time-travel story is the rules: what can the hero do, what’s impossible, and how does messing with the past change the future?

What we find in this exclusive excerpt from the opening of Tempest, the debut YA novel from Julie Cross, is that its cocky, time-shifting 19-year-old protagonist doesn’t understand the rules himself, and is struggling to figure out this strange, apparently instinctive power — though, like most kids that age, he’s not all that serious about his potential until trouble strikes.

Click here for a link to the first four chapters of the book, which comes out in its entirety Jan. 3, and let us know what you think in the comments.

Expectations are high for the novel, which has already had its film rights optioned by Summit Entertainment, the studio that produces the Twilight films. By releasing such a significant portion of the book four months early — and for free — publisher Thomas Dunne Books is, sort of like the hero of Tempest, hoping some actions taken in the past will positively influence the future.

See below for more theories on the excerpt.

As found in the opening page released last June, we are introduced to Jackson Meyer, the charming, somewhat reckless, young man who is as baffled by his ability to become unstuck in time as anyone, though it’s largely a secret between him and a physics expert friend named Adam. As the story begins, we see Jackson and girlfriend Holly working as camp counselors during a youth-group visit to the zoo, though Jackson is preoccupied by efforts to test his power.

The theory: though he can shift backward in time (usually by only 30 minutes or so) nothing he changes in the past actually shows up when he returns to the present.

That raises all sorts of questions about the story. For one, is he really time traveling? Adam describes him going into a vegetative state during his backward jaunts, so could the past Jackson sees really be hallucinations or dreams? Or is he splitting off alternate timelines when he shifts back, nature’s way of avoiding the paradoxes that would inevitably arise due to changing the past?

It’s all just a big science experiment punctuated by a flirtatious romance between Jackson and Holly — until the final pages of the excerpt.

A pair of mysterious men burst in on the young lovers as they lie in bed. A fight ensues, a gun is drawn, and blood is spilled.

Jackson escapes by reeling backward in time, but imagine the heartbreak of seeing that person you love again, and knowing you can’t save her.

On Twitter: @Breznican.

Comments (24 total) Add your comment
  • TheReasonsY

    Oh I love the Time Traveler’s Wife and have always wanted a sequel. Barf.

    • Zoe

      That’s exactly what my first thought was–it’s a YA ripoff of TTTW.

    • John H

      Sounds like a good idea. It’s not Vampires, Zombies, or Dystopian for a change. A rip off of Time Traveler’s Wife? Nope. I don’t see that. If you really think that, then you are still mad at George Lucas for doing that low-rent rip off of Star Trek. After all, they both have space travel!

  • Tom Strong

    BARF!!!!! Enough with the YA novels being read by real adults. Real some real fiction, dummies!

    • Cris

      Actually, when it’s well written (such as Harry Potter or the Hunger Games), Young Adult fiction can be just as good, if not better, than a lot of so-called “real fiction.” Moron.

    • Lande

      Who are you calling a dummy you undereducated semi-literate twit? YA novels can be quite good and only someone who hasn’t read them would denigrate those who do. Go to a library!

    • Jane

      YA fiction is often BETTER than adult.

  • Penny

    I’m excited to read it! And really, all time travel books are going to share a similar element: TIME TRAVEL. Saying this must be a Time Traveler’s Wife sequel is like saying the Harry Potter series was a Lord of the Rings rip off because Sauron and Voldemart are both bad guy wizards. Sheesh! I LOVE a good time travel. I wish I could do it in real life!! I’ll just have to live the dream in books. :)

  • Peter Soma

    So kann man das nun auch wieder nicht sehen, ich denke da an ganz andere Sachverhalte.

  • damnsle

    What a piece of poorly written garbage. I mean seriously, this is just terrible, awful writing. Is “Julie Cross” the nom de plume of Stephanie Meyers? Because this claptrap is entirely reminiscent of Ms. Meyers horrible pile of tripe. Unless that was the intention? *shudder*

  • Darlene

    Sounds interesting. But if I’m not drawn in by the end of the preview chapters, I’ll pass.

    • Darlene

      okay, I read the chapters and it reminds me a lot of the movie “Jumper”

  • Merc

    Wow. I’m like 99% sure that Stephenie Meyer wrote this. No way Summit would option this piece of crap. Also, they spelled ‘heel’ wrong. Literature at it’s finest right here, folks.

    • Merc

      I take that back. Summit optioned ‘Twilight’ so I guess this wouldn’t be far off their radar…

    • kate middleton

      I caught the “heal” typo too. Silly.

  • Gina

    Wow, hostile much? I am looking forward to this story, and even moreso after reading the first 4 chpts. Ppl seriously need to *chill out*. It’s *entertainment* folks – not the Wall Street Journal?! Save yur gripin for something a little more grim and deserving – uggh. Tempest <3.

  • John H

    Sounds like a good idea. It’s not Vampires, Zombies, or Dystopian for a change. A rip off of Time Traveler’s Wife? Nope. I don’t see that. If you really think that, then you are still mad at George Lucas for doing that low-rent rip off of Star Trek. After all, they both have space travel!

  • Um

    Well I read the first four chapters, and it seemed fine but there was nothing really compelling (yet). I was distracted by the typos, so I hope that Ms. Cross fixes those before it goes to final print.

    • kate middleton

      I agree. I enjoy well-written YA novels, but they need to pull you in quick. This one did not pull me in, so I doubt I’ll read it.

      And a movie about it seems like it would be very “Jumper”-esque.

      Not feeling the hype.

  • Jill

    It looks pretty good to me. I am pretty sure that I will purchase it when it comes out.

  • Kate

    The writing is weak — I was surprised at how “dumbed down” it seemed. With older teen characters, I was expecting it to be aimed at the upper end of the 14-18 group, but it really reads like something meant for junior high kids.

    I’m not sure releasing the first four chapters like this was a good marketing plan — it certainly didn’t convince me to buy the book.

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