“Flutter” by Gina Linko
Publisher: Random House | 352 pages | Oct. 23, 2012 | Buy it
All Emery Land wants is to be like any other 17-year-old—to go to school, hang out with her friends, and just be normal. But for as long as she can remember, she’s suffered from seizures. And in recent years they’ve consumed her life. To Emery they’re much more than seizures, she calls them loops—moments when she travels through wormholes back and forth in time and to a mysterious town. The loops are taking their toll on her physically. So she practically lives in the hospital where her scientist father and an ever-growing team of doctors monitor her every move. They’re extremely interested in the data they collect when Emery seizes. It appears that she’s tapping into parts of the brain typically left untouched by normal human beings.
Escaping from the hospital, Emery travels to Esperanza, the town from her loops on the upper peninsula of Michigan, where she meets Asher Clarke. Ash’s life is governed by his single-minded pursuit of performing good Samaritan acts to atone for the death of a loved one. His journey is very much entwined with Emery’s loops.
Drawn together they must unravel their complicated connection before it’s too late.
I generally think of myself as something of a book whisperer. Rare is the book that truly catches me off guard. While this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the vast majority of books where I see the ending coming a mile away, it does mean that when a book actually does take me for a ride, I am pretty impressed.
Enter: “Flutter” by Gina Linko
“Flutter” is the story of Emery Land, a seventeen year old girl who began experiencing seizures as a young child. These aren’t your garden variety seizures. These loops, as she calls them, take Emery backward or forward in time, where she interacts with people she knows, like her parents, and some that she doesn’t, one in particular, a little boy on a turn of the century farm.
The problem is that these seizures are increasingly taking their toll on Emery’s health. Her mad scientist father has her living in a hospital, with a team of doctors monitoring her as her physical condition deteriorates. A virtual prisoner, Emery longs for the fun her best friend, Gia, enjoys. School, boys, parties; none of which she can truly take part in because of the risk of ‘looping” while she’s away. When a town called Esperanza keeps turning up in her loops, Emery decides to go there in search of answers and a possible cure for her seizures.
Up until now, everything was fairly predictable: troubled girl runs away, goes to quaint little town filled with quirky, friendly inhabitants, sparks fly with a handsome stranger with whom she has an immediate connection and unexpectedly she has everything she ever wanted, including some control of her loops. While how she traveled in time was novel, I wasn’t bowled over by the rest of it.
Based on the first two-thirds of the book, I had an ending worked out in my head and all signs were pointing in that direction. Then we took a sharp turn and the book threw ME for a loop. I won’t go into too many details because SPOILERS (said in my best River Song accent), but the last third of this story brought it to a whole new level of complexity. And the ending is way more unexpected. I’m a sucker for an atypical ending and this book has it.
Bottom line: if you like YA flavored with a bit of mystery, romance and a pinch of sci-fi/paranormal and can handle a book that doesn’t have your standard Hollywood ending, then you’ll enjoy this book.
Watch the trailer for “Flutter”: