Oh, wait - a book review is supposed to be longer than that.
If that's not enough to make you dash out to preorder, I guess I'll have to work a little harder to convince you.
Abby is a seventeen-year-old who believes she has a perfect life. Her boyfriend sees to her every need, she's the assistant director of the school play, she's getting ready to apply for college, and everything seems in balance until the new foreign exchange student comes to school. His name is Dante, he's Italian, and he's gorgeous. Abby finds herself drawn to him, and soon learns his secret ... he was born in the fifteenth century and was sent to this time as part of his punishment for a crime he didn't commit. Now a prisoner of time, he must do everything he can to safeguard the balance of his existence or all will be lost. That's pretty much the story in a nutshell, but I want to move on and talk about the component of the book that really drew me in, and that was the writing.
Lisa Mangum has worked for Deseret Book for years, familiar with the ins and outs of the market, the publishing process, and the editing world. That said, it's entirely possible to be extremely proficient in the industry without necessarily being able to write oneself. And having said that, may I now say, Lisa is an outstanding writer. Her turns of phrase, her plotting pace, her characterization, the playoff between tension and tenderness ... brilliant. There were some sentences that caused me to go back and reread just because I wanted to appreciate the structure again. That doesn't happen to me a whole lot.
Some critics may draw comparisons between this book and Twilight. I'll agree-there are some similarities. Handsome, unusual guy comes into girl's life, knocks her for a loop, and then reveals a deep, dark secret. However, this is a basic storyline that has worked for authors in the past and will continue to work in the future. It's an established plot-a classic, really- not too far different from special child discovers ability to save the world. But Lisa's book is far different from Stephenie's in many other crucial ways, most notably in the writing technique. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed Twilight and I don't mean to knock it - but when you've got a book like The Hourglass Door that does have its similarities, you can't help but compare and this one comes out the winner, in my opinion.
I congratulate Lisa on a job well done and I can't wait for the sequel to be released. Rats - it doesn't come out until summer of 2010. Tapping my fingernails ... it's going to be a long wait.