Cristin Terrill has a bachelor of arts degree in drama from Vassar College and a master of arts degree in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. She currently lives outside Washington, D.C.., and teaches creative writing to children and teens. You can find her at cristinterrill.com or @cristinterrill.
gYou have to kill him. h So reads the final entry in a note that Em
fishes out of the sewer pipe in her prison cell, a note written by
another version of herself whose attempt to travel back in time and
prevent the dystopian future that Em now finds herself in obviously
failed. Now she and her prisonmate/boyfriend Finn must break into
the lab where the time machine is housed, travel back four years,
and murder the gdoctor, h the inventor of the time machine.
Meanwhile, in a parallel storyline, sixteen ]year ]old Marina is
romantically frustrated by her childhood pal James, whose usually
eccentric personality takes a turn for the worse when tragedy
strikes his family, and she fs forced to partner up with his
annoying friend Finn in their attempts to help him recover. Terrill
makes the wise decision to reveal Em as the future Marina and James
as the hated doctor early on, making this more a story of the ways
in which people change under duress than a guessing game of who fs
who. The narration alternates between Em and Marina, accelerating
the pacing and the tension as Em and Finn close in on their target.
More significantly, it allows the book to explore the connection
between Em and her former self: Em fs palpable affection for and
forgiveness of Marina fs insecurities and mistakes are bittersweet
and heartbreaking, and her emotions will likely strike a chord with
older teens as they come to terms with who they are instead of who
they fre trying to be. Effective and thrilling, this will find an
audience among fans of action sequences as well as those who enjoy
a solid emotional drama. KQG BCCB"
Gr 7-10 Time-travel paradigms and a dual narrative combine in this fast-paced temporal tale. The two voices are that of the same character: Marina, in the present, and Em, in the future. Future Em and present Marina run parallel courses as Em tries desperately to change present circumstances enough to alter future horror. Marina's longtime crush James, a teen genius who discovers how to manipulate time travel, intends to use that discovery to save his assassinated congressman brother. Em and Finn (her future romantic interest and James's good friend) travel back to the present to change their own and the world's fate, but their multiple efforts result in imprisonment and torture by the mad scientist James becomes. Em/Marina's parallel stories converge in a violent confrontation where characters from the present meet their future selves. Time-travel tropes may not hold up under close scrutiny, but the limited number of major players and the carefully focused plot keeps the action moving. Characterization is fairly stock: James is a brilliant monster, and Finn is consistently levelheaded and appealing. The future Em is much more developed than the present Marina, which makes the inevitable loss of one and the saving of the other disconcertingly unsatisfying. The built-in tension provided by knowledge of the world that will result if they fail makes Finn and Em's efforts compelling, however, and the escalating pace and intertwined narratives keep the pages turning. The philosophical question is intriguing: What price is too high to change fate? Janice M. Del Negro, GSLIS Dominican University, River Forest, IL SLJ"
Terrill debuts with a thrilling blend of time-travel adventure and teenage drama, first in a planned duology. When Em and Finn make a daring escape from prison, they use a time machine to journey four years into the past in order to assassinate the man who made temporal jumps possible and turned their world into a totalitarian dystopia. In the past, 17-year-old Marina is focused on her crush on her best friend James until his older brother, a politician, is shot. Soon Marina, James, and their friend Finn are on the run to discover who's behind the attack, while Em and the older Finn stalk their true target: James. Timelines collide, with both the present and the future in jeopardy. Terrill plays with time-travel paradoxes and the idea of destiny as her characters meet, interact, and reconvene at different stages in their lives and in surprising ways, leading to an unexpected climax. Occasional plot wrinkles and confusion surrounding the mechanics of time travel are minor blemishes in an otherwise tense and gripping narrative. Ages 12 up. PW"
Time travel done right. Narrator Em and her boyfriend, Finn, escape from their totalitarian future, time traveling back four years to commit a heart-wrenching assassination of a loved one in order to prevent time travel from being invented and the future from turning so wrong. The future fs hinted-at horrors are threatening but expertly backgrounded, avoiding dystopia-fatigue. The clever, accessible time-space treatment isn ft weighed down by jargon. Em and Finn fs proactive mission means the characters are the hunters instead of the frequently seen on-the-run teen protagonists. The other side of the storyline, taking place in the past that Em and Finn travel to and starring their past selves, is narrated by Marina (Em, in this timeline) and involves her brilliant yet interpersonally challenged best friend (and crush) James and his friend Finn, who annoys Marina, as they deal with a tragedy in James fs family. The believable, complex relationships among the three characters of each respective time and in the blended area of shared time add a surprise: A plot ostensibly about assassination is rooted firmly in different shades of love. Perhaps richest is the affection Em feels for Marina-a standout compared to the truckloads of books about girls who only learn to appreciate themselves through their love interests f eyes. Powerful emotional relationships and tight plotting in this debut mark Terrill as an author to watch. (Science fiction. 12 & up) Kirkus"