Welcome to the second stop of the Summer 2016 Review Train, a feature hosted by Brittany @ Space Between the Spines! Today, I will be sharing my review of Future Shock (Future Shock #1) by Elizabeth Briggs, released April 1st, 2016, with you! We have a lot of awesome bloggers and reviews to help get the Summer started! Yesterday, Genni @ Ready, Set, Read kicked off the Train with her review of The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. Tomorrow, the Train moves on to Laura @ Blue Eye Books with her review of The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, so be sure to follow it along it's track! By the way, on Brittany's stop on the final day of the Train, June 8th, there will also be a giveaway, and who doesn't like a giveaway!
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Elena Martinez has to find a job before she turns eighteen or she will be homeless and on the streets when she ages out of the foster care system. She's determined, street smart, and has an eidetic memory, but she's having a difficult time finding work. Maybe it's because she's a tatted up Mexican girl with a record, and her father's legacy hanging over head to boot. When she suddenly receives a job offer from the Aether Corporation, an L.A. tech giant, for more money for a day's work than she's ever seen in her life, she jumps at the chance. Aether Corp. has recruited four other teens - Chris, Trent, Zoe, and Adam - for this mission. All five are a part of a secret operation to travel ten years into the future, and bring back any pertinent data. They're only given one rule - do not to look into their own futures. However, something goes wrong when they arrive and they are forced to break that one rule. They now have twenty-four hours to get back to their own time, change the future, and stop a murder. They'll have to be careful, though, because changing the timeline can have deadly consequences.
Going into Future Shock, the first book in a new series by Elizabeth Briggs, I knew that it featured time travel. Honestly, that's a huge reason as to why I wanted to read the book and I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed the execution of this novel from the time travel to the future, a good central mystery, characterizations, and pacing. Also, I really got a kick out of the pop culture references to Doctor Who and Back to the Future!
Usually, I prefer my time travel into the past, but I do like to see how the future can be imagined every now and then. In this novel, they expect to go only ten years into the future, rather than the thirty they actually end up going, so there are quite a few interesting changes between then and now. For example, in thirty years cash is obsolete and payments are made by fingerprint scans that are linked directly to your bank account, cars are entirely self-driving, and many people wear devices called flexis on their face, which are something like having a mental link to a smartphone via a small, transparent sheet of plastic that can display a pattern of the wearer's choice on the surface. I wouldn't doubt a future of self-driving cars and payment via fingerprint at all. I'm not sure about going totally hands free like with these flexis, but I guess only time will tell - I mean, just look at how much technology has changed since 1986. Either way, the time travel aspect is handled well with minimal confusion.
This leads me to the mystery at the heart of the story that Elena and her fellow time travelers need to work out. Due to time travel (and some research), Elena knows the end results, but lacks the details of how exactly they get to that point. They have to work backwards to put together their own personal futures, while also trying to figure out if they've been set up and if there is more to the entire situation than meets the eye. I really enjoyed trying to piece everything together with Elena and her companions and I liked that the novel kept me on my toes with it's quick pacing.
As for our diverse cast of characters, Elena, one tough cookie with a great memory, and Adam, a smart nerd (plus a fan of the Doctor), are the two most well developed characters of the main five. Don't get me wrong - Chris, Trent, and Zoe each had their moments to shine, but I felt they were somewhat lacking in comparison. I also liked that we got to see some of the adults behind Aether Corporation - and I only wish I could have seen more of them. Then again, part of the mystery probably would have unraveled a bit faster if that was the case. Although each of the main five time traveling characters can be somewhat prickly or off-putting for one reason or another, I came to like all of them well enough in turn.
Overall, I had a great time while reading and keeping up with the time travel and mysterious antics in this creative debut YA novel by Elizabeth Briggs. The twists and turns are well executed and the story kept me turning those pages. For me, the time travel and the sci-fi elements really make the story, and the characters plus their mental and emotional baggage, all make this new novel a must read for fans of the genre.
I read this novel from May 17 - 22, 2016 and my review is also on Goodreads.
And, now, don't forget to visit tomorrow's stop on the Review Train with Laura @ Blue Eye Books!