Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: THE JOURNEY by John Heldt

My thoughts: After reading The Mine, a story filled with heart and adventure combined with Heldt’s resonant and witty style, you can bet how quickly I jumped at the chance to review his second book.

Michelle “Shelly” Preston has had to live with her regrets most of her life, but being married to Scott had made them dormant behind a wall of a “perfect wife”; now that he has laid to rest, those regrets have re-surfaced to the burning layer of nostalgia and reflection. Then a visit to her high school reunion sends her down memory lane—literally! It’s another Back to the Future tale, except our Shelly has a chance to not only try to return to her time, but try to make the life she should’ve had.

In the meantime, she must contend with a lot of high school memories as well as her teenage self. How weird, right? I would be too concerned about altering fate and changing the parallels of the universe. But for Shelly, that’s her whole mission. The battle for change quickly begins as she does everything in her power to make things better…for everyone.

What’s unique about this story is that we receive the thoughts and perspectives of both Michelles—the one from the future and the one from present-day 1979. With a dialogue so clever and refreshing, this book sends the reader on a wild ride through history, veering between lanes of ponderings and second chances.

If you had a second chance in your life, what would you change?  How about going after that one teacher you had a crush on as a kid, for starters? I was riveted by Shelly’s attempts at challenging fate—dating her old high school math teacher, consoling and advising her young self, and throwing puzzling minds into a loop with her inexplicable knowledge of the future.  At the same time, however, young Shelley must cope with the emptiness of future and complications of her love life. Should she pick another guy or the guy she marries in the future?  I liked how Shelly ends up learning things she never could see the second time around. But is it wise to meddle with history?

You can’t wait to find out what happens! This book is a tailspin of comfort, heartache, drama, and mystery— an enjoyable read every step of the way.


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