Time Travel and Trouble
'Faded' by Melanie Hooyenga is the third installment in her 'Flicker Effect' series. It is not always true that a series can get better with each new book, but it is certainly true of Hooyenga's writing. The main plot point in 'Faded' is the same as in 'Flicker' and 'Fracture' - main character Biz has the ability to time travel, or "flicker," as she calls it, and she has learned that it can come at a cost, despite also sometimes being a saving grace.
Having been unable to save someone close to her in the second book, 'Fracture,' after several flickering attempts to do so, she tries to come to terms with the idea that everything happens for a reason. Determining that she should be just like everyone else who has to live with the consequences of their actions, she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a difficult situation. She has been caught drunk driving and taken in by the police. This is due to her flickering, but she can't tell anyone. Besides her parents, ex-boyfriend, best friend, and doctor, no one knows. Her wariness about stopping everything is compounded by some cryptic e-mails coming her way, claiming to know about her ability. Even though these e-mails don't say anything she doesn't know, Biz doesn't like the idea that someone has power over her to share her life's details without her permission.
She wonders whether her doctor, Martinez, is behind it all. She internally questions whether her ex-boyfriend and potential reignited love interest, Cameron, could have anything to do with it, but she continually settles back on Martinez as being the likely candidate for double-crossing her. She also has to deal with the trial of Mr. Turner, her former photojournalism teacher, who was arrested in the first book, 'Flicker,' for kidnapping and holding at least a couple of girls, including Cameron's sister, Katie, for many years. He had also tried to kidnap Biz, but since she flickered while he was doing it, he has no memory of it. She, however, is stuck with the thought of him doing so, and when the trial comes later in this novel, readers may find themselves feeling right there in the thick of it, breathing in and out and hoping that Biz can survive the onslaught of emotions threatening to overcome her.
Much of the novel deals with Biz struggling with her father's deteriorating health and likely death due to his own flickering over the years. She struggles with how to figure out who is threatening her and how to have relationships with people who don't understand her true self. At times the story seemed to be a bit repetitious, going over the same ideas about Martinez, Biz's struggle to figure her life out, etc. Yet readers will find themselves wanting the story to continue, and the 400+ pages of this novel will be a welcome touch, especially since the last several chapters of the novel propel the story along and answer some questions. Even though some answers are still left somewhat up in the air, most readers will be satisfied with how it ends.
Anyone who loves contemporary young adult romance or the idea of time travel will want to go out and pick up this series right away. If more of Biz's story ever comes out, that will also be a must read!