Whendunit

No True Echo by Gareth P. Jones. Amulet Books, 2015. 9781419707841.

Decades in the future, a retired police officer’s memories of a gruesome murder are slipping away, so she revisits the valley where it happened, now a museum to the development of echo technology.

In the present day, the reality of Eddie’s life in the valley starts to show some cracks. First, his English teacher seems to have forgotten he offered Eddie a ride home. Then he seems surprised that Eddie’s mom is dead, even though they talked about it only last week. A new girl at school is asking a lot of questions about that same teacher. She won’t tell Eddie why because it “violates protocol.” When he finds her spying on the teacher’s house, she doesn’t even have to break in: she writes something in a notebook, puts it in her pocket, and moments later a motorcyclist arrives and hands her a key.

I was sucked into this book from the first chapter. It’s an elegantly structured story about a technology that allows something like time travel and travel between alternate realities. Most stories like these involve the person doing the traveling, but this one is about the people whose lives are disrupted by it. I loved the characters and the hints of their relationships changing in various futures. No True Echo is as compelling and well-drawn as the time travel books by Connie Willis, and left me thinking about how we would be different in different circumstances.

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