Wednesday, October 1, 2014

REVIEW: Correlation / Mia Grace

As part of Red Adept Publishing's Young At Heart blog tour, I'm reposting my review of Correlation, a well-written little time travel novel with an intriguing thought experiment at its core.

TITLE: Correlation
AUTHOR: Mia Grace
PUBLISHER: Red Adept Publishing
AVAILABILITY: Amazon (Kindle), Amazon (paperback), and other online retailers

Young Adult - Contemporary/Science Fiction/Romance

Full disclosure: Red Adept Publishing, which published Correlation, is also my publisher for the Jane Colt series. I received a free copy of Correlation in order to inform the author interview I conducted in November with Mia Grace. I chose to write a review independently, and the below represent my honest opinions.

Correlation is a finely written little book that deserves more attention that it's been receiving. Mia Grace has a talent for description and characterization, and while her book certainly fits under the "Young Adult" banner, it feels more literary than a lot of titles in the genre.

The plot of Correlation sounds very simple: a teenage girl named Hailey, seeking solace after an accident puts her brother in a coma, helps her best friend clean an old house and its overgrown garden. A mysterious force sends her back in time to the Vietnam War era, where she meets a young man who she knows won't survive the fighting. Her knowledge of his fate could save his life – if she can convince him she's not crazy.

But the story doesn't pan out as you'd expect it to. First of all, while the journey back in time at the center of the plot, it's not the main point of the story. The story itself is really about the characters – primarily Hailey. It's a character study of sorts, exploring her life as a typical teenage girl – with a crush on a cute boy and everything – and the survivor's guilt she experiences after her brother's accident. Grace paints this character's life in vivid colors, delving into Hailey's life and emotions.

As for the time travel part – though it sounds like science fiction, it doesn't read like it. How the time travel works is never explained, and it really doesn't matter, since the important part is the interaction between Hailey and the young man from the past. It's tough to say more without spoiling the story, but I will say this: Hailey's actions in the past change her present reality. The book is written in two parts: first what happens to Hailey before the time travel, and then what her present is like afterward. Correlation is really a thought experiment and perhaps a bit philosophical in nature. If you went back in time to change one thing, how expansive could the consequences be?

This book is a hard one to describe, but it certainly makes you think. It's not so much a page-turning plot-driven save-the-day type story, but rather a richly written depiction of possible realities. When you're done, you won't be left with the satisfying "and this is how it ends" a typical YA book would give. Instead, you're left contemplating. For those thinkers among you, I recommend taking a chance on this one.

Mia Grace grew up in the Midwest and now resides in the beautiful state of Vermont. Her young adult novels include FOUND DAYS, a coming of age story with a surprising twist, and CORRELATION, a young adult time travel that takes the reader back to the tumultuous Vietnam era. She's currently working on a young adult time travel series.

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