Week 35: The Hourglass Door
The Hourglass Door, by Lisa Mangum
Abby enters her senior year of high school hoping for some changes. She has a nice (but dull) boyfriend and plans to go to the state college with her friends, but secretly she's hoping to get into a liberal arts college on the other side of the country. Then Dante, an Italian exchange student, shows up at school and Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery that transcends time!
OK, so the story is really pretty good and well-written. There are distinct shades of Twilight, only with time travel instead of vampires and werewolves, but they aren't overpowering and there isn't so much of a love triangle. And Abby certainly has more personality than Bella does--even though she has the same problem of being inexplicably 'special.' Also, Mangum calls on Dante's Inferno instead of Wuthering Heights, which I think wins some points for originality.
This is a YA title, the first in a trilogy (of course) published by Shadow Mountain, which usually prints religious fiction. The Hourglass Door is not, however, a religious story--it could easily be published for the general market, and I would be happy to see that happen. It's as good as any YA book out there (though not at the level of Plain Kate), and I certainly liked it better than Twilight; I plan to read the rest of the trilogy.