Hourglass is the first in a series by Myra McEntire that focuses on Emerson Cole, a teen with a problem: she sees dead people. The images began showing themselves to her shortly before she lost her own parents in a bus accident, and over time, she was committed to a mental hospital and drugged to rid her of her visions. Now seventeen, she's back in her hometown for her senior year after spending time at a boarding school, living with her older brother and his wife and trying to avoid the images that still exist around her. When her brother engages the Hourglass group to try to help Emerson, for the first time she feels hope because suddenly it seems as though she's not crazy and alone and there might be other people in the world with the same powers. But will all this new knowledge place her in danger?
Emerson is likeable enough right off the bat, and it's clear early on that she's not delusional when she sees not just ghosts, but entire scenes of images from long ago. The young man sent from Hourglass to help her, Michael, is just as mysterious as her visions, however; it remained unclear throughout the novel just how Thomas, Emerson's brother, found the Hourglass and why he'd feel comfortable letting her be "treated" by someone scarcely a couple of years older than she. Once Emerson begins to understand that she has the ability to use her "gift" to rectify a grievous wrong, though, she immediately feels compelled to help a group she's known for approximately a week; Michael himself is less than forthcoming about her gift and the danger she is in now that the secret seems to be out.
Emerson's a very real character, with emotions that resonate with a typical teen; it's not hard to understand how she'd fall quickly for Michael, though it is more irritating to see how he continually pushes her away. I kept thinking of the television show Heroes once Emerson actually meets with others who have these unusual gifts; that's not a bad thing, but it does make the premise less than original. But the author's style of writing is light and quick, and the story moves along rapidly as the danger builds. I liked the twist with Jack and if I felt that Thomas wasn't quite as diligent a guardian as he should have been, I could live with it because overall the story is quite entertaining. There's a lot of explaining in the final few chapters which does distract from the action, but this one's definitely fun and I'm looking forward to see where the story leads. Imaginative and captivating.