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I Belong

Review: Loop by Karen Akins

LoopTitle: Loop

Author: Karen Akins

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Series: Loop (Book #1)

Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 336 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250030986 (MacTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-1250030986 (MacTeen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Quick & Dirty: This was an enjoyable first book, although the plotline was extremely complicated and the pacing was iffy.

Opening Sentence: Hitting the ground is the hardest part.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Bree is a shifter at a school for shifters, or time-travelers. In her midterm, she travels to put something on the grave of Muffy Van Sloot, but it goes horribly awry. When she travels back to try to right her wrongs, it gets even weirder — Finn, a boy she met three years ago, is acting like he knows her. Like they’re together. She’s met him once. So that means Future Bree has gotten to know them… But why? It gets even weirder when Finn, who isn’t even a shifter, manages to travel through time with her back to the future. A mystery blossoms with a mysterious phrase that people close to them seem to know, and enemies plague Bree’s every path. Who can she trust? Can she even trust herself, Future Bree, and the messages she’s been sending?

This was the first in the series, Loop. It was wrapped up in a way that could have been a standalone, but at the same time, there was some things that Future Bree needed to do so that Past Bree could do everything she did in Loop. Confused yet? It gets a whole lot weirder. I haven’t read a time-travel book in a while, so I had forgotten how potentially complicated they could be. Loop succeeded in complicated, I’ll tell you that. I don’t know how much interest I have in reading the sequel, but I didn’t dislike book one, so if I ever do get a week or so when my TBR isn’t a mile high, I’d like to pick it up.

The pacing in this novel was very skewed. For the first half, it was slow —- there weren’t many new clues, not a ton of action, and not much was happening. The last half was packed with action and answers. And the worst info-dumps I’ve ever experienced. There were pages of new information around 80% through. I managed to keep up, barely, but it made my head hurt. Time traveling is a tricky subject to understand and there was a nice background for the traveling in this book or shifting, but it was still confusing as heck. Especially when there was Bree and Future Bree and Finn and Past Finn… I’m very impressed with myself for following along as I did. Though, I’ll admit, I had to reread a couple of pages to understand anything.

The romance was a little weird, because I never felt like I could keep up with Bree’s thoughts towards Finn. Does she love him or hate him? Are they fighting or awkwardly flirting? Is she yelling at him for being annoying or is she kissing him? The possibilities were endless in their relationship. The chemistry wasn’t as palpable as it could have been, but there was a connection that was delved deeper into by the end of the story. Bree was also an interesting character. She used different curse words that I’m used to, like blark, which to me, felt like more of a joke than a curse. “Blark.” Isn’t the future supposed to be edgy and modern and science filled? Blark it. There was a lot of things that were explored in this book, many themes and lots of crossing of timelines. It seemed like a paradox just waiting to happen, but because of the Doctrine of Inevitability, it seems that everything was jolly good in shifting.

Anyway, despite my pacing problems and the massive info-dump chapters, I still found this an enjoyable start to a series that I think science fiction lovers will enjoy. Bree is a firecracker and Finn isn’t too shabby himself, and there were a few moments in the book that I did laugh out loud. (I’m resisting the urge to replace that with LOL.) The characters have their merits and they develop well, and the complicated book has zero plot holes that I could find. Quite a feat! This book is an enjoyable young adult time travel story and I’d encourage lovers of Doctor Who to try it out. Us Whovians are used to difficult plots and confusing episodes, after all — this is a perfect book for us.

Notable Scene:

Maybe I confided my plans to Finn for some . . . unfathomable . . . reason.

“I really can’t talk about it. And, frankly, you didn’t tell me much about the future. ” he said. “We, uhh, spent a lot of time not talking, if you are picking up what I’m throwing down.”

“Consider it picked up. Or better yet, why don’t we leave it where it is? On the ground.”

Loop Series:

1. Loop

2. Twist (April 7, 2015)


FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Griffin provided me with a copy of Loop. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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