4.0 11
by Cyn Balog

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Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn't? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn't work.

But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something's about to happen that Nick never could have… See more details below


Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn't? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn't work.

But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something's about to happen that Nick never could have predicted. He meets a girl named Taryn and finds out about the Book of Touch. Now the path that he thought he was on begins to shift . . . and there's no way to stop things from happening. Or is there?

In a life where there are no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what he's about to discover--or the choice he will be forced to make. . . .

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Nick Cross hears a voice in the back of his mind that tells him his future. That's how he knows he's going to save little Emma Reese from drowning, just as soon as he gets back to the lifeguard stand. Running behind, he impulsively stops to save another teen from getting hit by a truck, and that one decision changes the course on which he thought he was headed. Now his future is thrown out of sync. As Nick tries to pull everything back on track by alternating between following "the script" and veering off it, nothing happens the way he wants. The only thing that he's sure about is that he needs to stay away from Taryn, the girl whose life he saved. Teens will enjoy the fantasy element of Nick's gift/curse while struggling with him to learn the origins of it. Nick narrates his story, so readers are pulled in with what he's told to do (the voice appears in italics) and what he really does. As he learns more about his past and his ability, readers go along for the ride. A few twists and turns help keep the plot moving, along with Nick and Taryn's friendship.—Natalie Struecker, Rock Island Public Library, IL
Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
I have never read a book written by this author, so I did not know what to expect. I was absolutely astounded at how quickly I was caught up in this in the story and had no intention of putting the book down until I finished it. The first three sentences go like this, "It had taken years, but finally, I had everything down. Perfect. For three months, everything had been perfect. But of course I went and screwed it up." Nick is an odd character and just about everyone in the town think he is crazy. He can actually see into the future. He can see both very simple things and very important things and tries to live his life according to what he knows and he never varies from the "script." However, when he follows his heart and deviates from the script in order to save Taryn from being hit by a car, his life and future change. When Taryn lived, another person died by drowning and Nick never got over guilt as it was his choice to go off script. I really liked this book, but I will admit that in some places it was difficult to understand exactly what was going on. This is a very different type of book and one that should be read for fun and enjoyment. The characters were well portrayed and interesting. It moves along and I really wanted to find out how it was going to end. I was satisfied with the ending and continued to think about it long after finishing the book. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
VOYA - Summer Hayes
The voice has been in Nick Cross's head for as long as he can remember. Relentless and insistent, it directs every one of Nick's actions in a domino-like sequence of events that he can see stretching out into his future until his eventual death. Everything is fine as long as Nick follows the script running through his head, but the minute he deviates from it, a million possible futures start crowding his mind. When he makes a split-second decision to save a girl's life, another is lost in the process, and everything is suddenly thrown into uncertainty. A growing relationship with Taryn, the girl saved by Nick, brings a welcome distraction, but he soon learns that her family's secrets are firmly bound up with his own and he may not like the answers she has for his questions. Free will and the butterfly effect—two theories with perennial appeal to teens—are woven together in this ambitious novel that examines choice and action. The engaging premise and brisk pacing should be enough to hook readers, but Balog struggles technically with rough transitions, convenient plot devices, and some murky passages. Nick and Taryn are sympathetic, if not wholly compelling, characters, although it is not clear why they find each other so attractive. More philosophical readers may be disappointed with the tidy ending, but there is plenty here for teens to ponder and discuss. Reviewer: Summer Hayes
Kirkus Reviews
Every thought, every action has a consequence, and one unscripted moment can change everything. For a record three months, 17-year-old Nick Cross has carefully listened to the unrelenting voices in his head as they lead him toward a future he desperately wants. But when Nick ultimately chooses to ignore the "You Wills" that tell him to save the life of a beautiful stranger, the result is devastating. Nick's ability to see the future is "a living nightmare," and Balog brings his torment to life for readers by allowing the voices in Nick's head to constantly interrupt his narration with flashes from the future. Unfortunately, this clever technique largely falls by the wayside in the second half of the novel, and what is left is disappointingly ordinary. In addition, while the action is high in the beginning and readers will likely find Nick and his struggles compelling, the latter part of the story packs less of a punch. Perhaps most importantly, the romance between Nick and Taryn, a girl with more than a few of her own secrets, never quite seems to ignite, making what could have been a riveting race to change the future considerably less compelling. In the end, it is a frustratingly ho-hum read that could have been much, much more. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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Random House
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File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

CYN BALOG has always wanted to be a fortune teller on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. She is the author of Fairy Tale, Sleepless, Starstruck, Touched, and Dead River, and lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

From the Hardcover edition.

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