A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Like many time-travel stories, Tempest addresses fascinating questions about causality and predestination.
As much as Jackson wants to learn the truth about his time-traveling abilities and his crazily convoluted origins, his main focus is ensuring the safety of his longtime girlfriend, Holly. Jackson's willingness to sacrifice his own happiness for the well-being of the young woman he loves gives Tempest an emotional boost beyond its plot pyrotechnics.
Positive Role Models
Because Tempest is, in part, a conspiracy thriller, it's not surprising that characters keep secrets from one another. And yet, the main character, Jackson, comes across as more deceptive and manipulative than he actually needs to be. With a few exceptions, the supporting cast behaves similarly. Also, the novel depicts some extremely ill-considered parenting choices, from not paying attention to your teen's late-night whereabouts all the way up to outright lying about important family matters.
Violence & Scariness
There's plenty of violent action in Tempest, but because of time-travel paradoxes, hardly anyone ever ends up permanently injured. For example, Holly is shot at the start of the novel, but healthy versions of her appear in different timelines throughout the rest of the book. There are gunfights and fistfights, but blood and pain are barely part of the equation.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jackson and his girlfriend Holly are depicted as having a fully sexual relationship, and it's implied that Jackson, at least, has had experience with other partners. There are a few scenes that deal with their physical intimacy, including the night Holly loses her virginity (at age 18). Jackson's father seems to have little problem with female guests spending the night in Jackson's room. No sexual acts are described in detail, but the characters sleep and shower together. There's also a lot of flirty banter between Jackson and Holly.
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Characters use profanity rather casually, not only in moments of extreme stress but in friendly conversation. "F--k" is employed in only a couple of instances, but "s--t," "a--hole," and their variants are used more often, as are "damn" and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Underage drinking is discussed but not depicted.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tempest is a twisty time-travel romance that features some violence, a fair amount of profanity (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and some casual depictions of teen sexuality -- the main character and his girlfriend are in a fully sexual relationship, and the loss of virginity is discussed. The emphasis of the plot is on Matrix-like action, but the characters lack sufficient definition to make the story completely compelling or believable.
Is It Any Good?
TEMPEST starts with a promising new wrinkle in time-travel lore, but the plot's implausibility and the flatness of the characterizations quickly cause the narrative to wobble out of control. By mixing teen romance with Matrix-like action and Back to the Future temporal conundrums, author Julie Cross has set the bar high for herself, but she doesn't quite make the leap on her first attempt. However, teens who like time travel may still find it entertaining.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.