Source: the author/pr firm/publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: March 25, 2015
Challenges: May 2015 Clean Sweep ARC Challenge
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Blurb from goodreads:
Lots of kids have an imaginary friend. Max certainly did. Then one day, Max’s friend said something that scared him. Max never saw his friend again.
Several years later, Max’s imaginary childhood friend returns – older, wiser, and disturbingly real. He tells Max of events concealed for over twenty years, events that someone will go to deadly lengths to keep that way. Max must journey into his friend’s past, not knowing how his actions will affect what he knows as reality.
An imaginary friend, a mystery, and time travel? How could I resist?
"Flashback" was a suspenseful science fiction story for teens. Max lives with his dad and has a fair amount of autonomy. He develops a headache while visiting the cemetery one day and the story is off and running. He has visions, or are they hallucinations?, that he tries to unravel and before long he's looking into the death and disappearance of a fourteen year old boy, David, from about twenty years ago. Soon Max is hooking up with different people, trying to unravel both the mystery of David's death and Max's visions, which could get pretty grim.
The book is marketed for middle grade and young adults/teens. It was dark and grim at times, with lots of violence, for middle grade readers so you might want to skim it or read it with them, depending on your child. I think most teens would be fine with it, again depending on the child.
The story itself has several convenient coincidences that move the story along but were hard to swallow and some of the science and experiments were a little out there (trying not to give away any spoilers). Other than that, I enjoyed the story. It was fast paced, much more of a mystery than the blurb hints at it, and Max is a bright, resourceful boy who is trying to do the right thing, even at great cost to himself. One thing that didn't make much sense was Max's dad's worry for his mental health. There are several mentions about his father's concern but it didn't seem relevant to the story; it struck an odd note as nothing Max said or did indicated any possible issues of any mental or emotional instability. His mother had depression which apparently was the source of his father's concern. It just seemed odd and irrelevant. Anyway, that struck me as odd since it's mentioned several times but nothing's done with it. I was curious how Rose would handle the time travel aspect and the potential paradoxes. They may not make much sense scientifically but they worked for me, they were believable in the context of the story.
"Flashback" kept me entertained and I enjoyed it.The had humor, wit, mystery, a little drama, some science fiction elements, and some paranormal elements. For the most part, it all meshes well and Rose kept me reading; I had to know what happened.