By Edward Hogan
Published by Walker Books
This intriguing, coming-of-age novel is part-ghost, part-mystery story. It takes its name from the practice each year when clocks are put forward one hour, from late spring until early autumn, when the months have more sunlight. Moving an hour ahead means evenings have more daylight; at the end of October, the time goes back one hour to as it was before.
The first young adult novel by British author Edward Hogan uses this idea of the hour being "repeated", after time moves forward and then back. He asks the question, "What happens when we've lived one hour and suddenly time is moved back and we live it again?".
Daylight Saving focuses on teenager Daniel, who is facing problems after his parents' marriage breaks up. When Daniel's mother walks out, his father becomes very depressed. This kind of scenario can be found in many young adult novels, but Hogan moves the plot quickly into unfamiliar, and surprising territory.
Daniel reluctantly joins his sad father on holiday at a leisure resort, where they try to rebuild their damaged relationship, only for things to suddenly take a sinister turn.
Soon after their arrival at the Leisure World Holiday Complex, Daniel strikes up a friendship with Lexi, a smart, fun but mysterious girl. Lexi swims in the man-made lake at the leisure complex - and wears a watch that runs backwards.
Whenever Daniel meets her in secret he is surprised to see that she is developing bruises and wounds on her body that only get worse - rather than better - over time. Lexi tells him that a strange man is stalking her in the woods surrounding the leisure park.
More worryingly for Daniel, no one else seems to be able to see this young girl in her red hoodie.
The end of daylight saving is fast approaching, when time is "repeated". Will this give Daniel a chance save Lexi from her torment?
Hogan may write about teen issues, but first and foremost, he has created a totally believable chiller that you will struggle to stop reading. His two central characters, Daniel and Lexi, are well-developed and - unusually in a novel written by an adult for teenagers - their dialogue rings true; it is mercifully free of that false-sounding "teen-speak" used by many writers.
This great read is highly recommended for anyone looking for something a bit different.
John Millen can be contacted at MillenBookshelf@aol.com
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- Cassandra Clare's urban fantasyfest The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones takes readers into a complicated world with twists and dark shadows down every alley, yet never forgets most of her characters are still teenagers.