Editorial Review: Springback by Jana Miller
Springback by Jana Miller is an impressive time manipulation thriller with thought-provokingly deep themes while remaining suitable for a YA audience.
At sixteen years old, a high schooler's life generally revolves around friendships, grades, and those awkward moments you wish you could undo. Well, Chloe is definitely concerned with all of those things – except she actually can undo those moments. Simply by concentrating her mind she can slip into a place where the golden threads of time are more than a concept, they’re tangible things that she can pull on to rewind time. Triggered by a tragedy in her life and practiced over years, Chloe is shocked to find a boy at school who can do the same thing as she can. Of course, this boy is Jake, the popular athlete who Chloe has never spoken to socially before, so she has to navigate the minefield of high school politics just to connect with someone who understands.
Though remarkable, this ability to rewind time is anything but a gift for Chloe. What is the point of it, if you can’t change the things that really matter? Additionally, rewinding time is not without its costs-- and side effects. Depending on how long she rewinds for, Chloe will suffer vertigo, dizziness, or debilitating migraines. When these side effects start to get worse, and affect her more randomly, Chloe starts to get worried. Braving the awkward conversation with Jake, she comes forward about her ability and the two begin digging.
Through meeting others with their ability, Jake and Chloe discover a world they never knew existed. A world of rivalries forged long ago, ancient artefacts, and threats not just to Chloe’s family – but to all of time.
Jana Miller has done spectacularly well with this Young Adult Fiction debut. Her writing is clean, entertaining, and accessible to all ages. Though the story is aimed at the YA age bracket, the story is interesting enough to draw in adult readers.
The characters throughout Springback are amazingly well developed. There is a tendency in the YA genre to rely on flat stereotypes of high schoolers, but Miller creates fictional characters that feel very real. The insecurities, the wild emotions, and the simple rawness of the teenage years are brilliantly shown without ever taking over the story – there are no overwrought moral lessons shoehorned in and there is a sense of genuine understanding of the teenage condition.
Despite being the first in a series Springback is a complete story. There is no cliffhanger on the last page, but the world Miller has created for the Ring Of Time series is so inviting and fun that you’ll want to read the next one anyway. While this is aimed at younger readers, there is plenty here for older readers too.
Once you start reading Springback you won’t want to stop because it is both conceptually intriguing and brilliantly written.