Title: So Close to You
Author: Rachel Carter
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: So Close to You Trilogy (Book 1)
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 313 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062081055 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062081056 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who’ve disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.
When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she’s ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she’s in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.
Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices–and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them . . . and herself.
Quick & Dirty: While falling into some of the cliches of time travel, So Close to You adds the drama of WWII to our heroines desperate quest to change history.
Opening Sentence: The bonfire in the clearing spits out flames and smoke.
The Montauk Project is the East Coast equivalent of Area 51, with even less people believing in it. But Lydia’s grandfather is a believer. His dad worked on a secret project during WWII before he died during a “training accident.” With no body ever released and no witnesses to his death, he’s never believed the military’s story. So over the years he’s taken Lydia with him to explore the old military bunkers in the state park, trying to break inside what he thinks are labs. And even though she doesn’t believe him the way she did as a child, Lydia doesn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise.
Until one day she doubles back after their trip and finds one of the bunkers mysteriously open. Knowing she’ll never get a chance like this again — that if she walks away now, without evidence, she’ll just be another one of the crazy theorists — her journalist side kicks in. But she’s not even close to prepared for what the Montuak Project really is, or who’s waiting for her inside.
Thrown accidentally back in time, followed by a mysterious boy from inside the bunker, Lydia finds herself thrown in with her ancestors and the chaos of WWII America. Trying to hide her identity from her own family is hard enough, but trying to convince Wes, the boy from the bunker, that she needs to stay is even harder.
As she discovers the origins of the Project, more and more pieces begin to fall into place. The reader is easily immersed in Camp Hero and the small town bustling with soldiers and sailors preparing for the European Theater. Lydia gets to meet the family her grandfather’s never wanted to talk about, quickly hitting it off with her great-great-aunt Mary. Becoming best friends with her is both sweet and heartbreaking, especially as we see Mary’s khaki-crazy side (meaning, she loves all soldiers) and watch some flirtations on the side. Lydia has to be careful not to mess too much with the past, because as any good time travel junkie knows, there can be massive ramifications.
So Close to You falls into a lot of the science fiction tropes of time travel. Of course she meets her family and of course she wants to help them, but what if she stops her own existence! Carter uses Wes’s character not only as a tortured romantic interest, but as an easy way to explain things both to Lydia and the reader. While doing a really good job of avoiding info-dumping, a considerable amount of what we’re told would’ve been easy enough to figure out on our own. So in a number of ways, telling the reader everything didn’t only annoy me, but had me rethinking exactly how intelligent Lydia really was.
She’s a pretty ballsy heroine. I mean, Lydia sneaks into a super secret and secure underground bunker that she thinks is run by the military running illegal experiments! She’s brave and courageous and smart, which is the way I like my heroines, but even she has her moments. I mean, you can only be compulsive for so long before the reader feels like banging the book into the wall. But the tension in this book is really well written, the stakes are high, and watching Lydia interact with her family is heartbreaking.
All in all, I enjoyed reading So Close to You. I’ll definitely be picking up the next books because that ending was brilliant and I loved Wes’s character. He was tall, dark, and handsome, literally leaving girls speechless, while managing to keep himself in the sensitive guy category. Definitely swoon worthy. While it had its clichés, the concept is something I’m totally on board with (conspiracy theories and time travel? Oh yes please.) and it is really well executed.
“What happened in there? I fell in that machine, and I pushed a button, and everything went…” I shudder, unable to finish.
He looks at me, then down at the ground.
“The less you know, the safer you’ll be,” he finally responds.
I sit up straighter. “What does that mean?”
“Listen to me.” He takes a step closer. “I will make sure you live, but we have to go back to the facility.”
“I don’t understand. Tell me what that means.”
“There are things I can’t tell you.” His voice is even and soothing, his mouth is a hard, tight line. “You need to trust me. We wait here until we’re certain that the scouts have come and gone. Then we’ll go back in.”
“I don’t even know who you are! How can I trust you?” I stand up, barely feeling the pain in my foot. “I’m not going back in there. I can’t.” I spit the words at him.
The So Close to You Trilogy:
FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of So Close to You. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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