No True Echo by Gareth Jones
Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404160
Recommended for readers from 13-15. This unusually crafted time slip story travels from the present to the future, as it explores the consequences of decisions made in alternate past realities.
Eddie lives with his grandma in a small boring town in Wellmore Valley. He supports Ruby through her upbeat, normal and down days, he shops, cooks and helps around the house. He catches the school bus and hangs out with his best friend Angus. The catalyst for change occurs when a new student takes the bus, Scarlett White is cool, confident and mysterious. Eddie tries without success to find out about her family and where she's from, Scarlett, however is extremely interested in the circumstances surrounding the death of Eddie's mother and the strange, reclusive scientist who lives in the woods. Eddie is drawn into Scarlett's schemes as she challenges his ordinary life and pushes boundaries. There is a sense of the movie Groundhog Day as the school assembly happens over and over again, as does lunchtime conversations and English class. Eddie's English teacher, Mr Cornish acts more and more out of character each time.
Gareth Jones' novel starts slowly and the reader needs to be aware of each character's journey. Eddie's character is multi-layered, he is a good friend, supports his grandma and deals with the twisted reality of his birth and family life.