Saturday, May 25, 2013

REVIEW: The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez

Title:                       The Photo Traveler (#1)
Author:                   Arthur J. Gonzalez
Release Date:      Feb 20/2013
Genre:                YA-Science Fiction
Publisher:           Fahrenheit Publishing
Page Count:        352
Acquired:            Sent from Author
Format:              ARC-Paperback
Read On:            Apr 27-May 3/2013
Goodreads:         ADD
Purchase:           Amazon

Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.

Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.”Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.

When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.

He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!

His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.

For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.


There are just books that your brain decides, straight away, based on premise alone, that it's going to absolutely love. The Photo Traveler had the correct amount, shape, and size of building blocks to create something truly spectacular and fresh, especially on my beloved topic of time-travel. Unfortunately, the pieces didn't quite fit together the way I wanted them to, and I was left with a lot questions and, sadly, disappointment.

Gavin Hillstone was the epitome of teenage angst, but with good reason. Placed in foster care after his parents perished in a mysterious fire, Gavin was adopted by a loving family-at least they were at first. Following even more tragedy, Gavin is left with a broken home, and an even more broken state-of-mind. His adoptive father becomes a violent drunk, and his sister could care less for his existence. At this point, I began to wrap my sympathy around Gavin, and wanted nothing more than for him to find a way out of his troubled life, which he quickly does. By accident, he stumbles upon information that leads him to his biological grandparents, who then go on to reveal a genetic bomb of a secret: he possesses the ability to travel through time.

I completely FAN-GIRLED at Gavin's discovery. He could travel through time by holding a photo taken by an actual photographer, and reciting a rhyming line. BOOM! Fresh take on time-travel. It opened up SO many new possibilities, and easily became my new favourite method of choice. However, as I read on, I couldn't help but become distracted by the aspects of the The Photo Traveler that I didn't like. For one, Gavin came across as MUCH younger than 17. He constantly whined, and threw tantrums if he didn't understand something, or was frustrated by a situation. This fact wouldn't have bothered me as much, had it not been intermixed with details about him drinking at a club, or having sexual thoughts. His personality made it feel like he was WAY too young to be doing either of those things.

The writing was extremely quick-paced and involved some really entertaining scenes and dialogue. Though, it may have been a little too fast. The story felt rushed, and WAS rushed. Gavin entered into the dreaded realm of insta-love. The most "INSTA" I've come across yet. I'm talking HALF an hour here. I definitely could have used some slow growth there, or even an unrealistic explanation that had something to do with a past life, or a wiped memory..or..?

The characters in The Photo Traveler gave very little to relate to. They came off as shallow-their personalities skimmed over. This fact made it difficult to digest some of the twists that occurred near the conclusion. Moments that were clearly intended to cause shock, just sort of laid there, piled on top of the other, causing only confusion on my part. 

Overall, The Photo Traveler was a good attempt, and honestly, had some truly memorable historical scenes-which has become super important to me in regards to time-travel books. I go into them expecting to learn something, and I did here. Unfortunately, it just didn't have what it takes to be mind-blasting. It needed that extra squeeze, the moments and characters crafted more intricately and carefully. The storyline checked and rechecked for plot holes and inconsistencies.

I'll definitely keep my fingers crossed for the sequel!

1 comment:

  1. What a bummer! I won a kindle copy of this and I was kind of excited to read it but with everything else I have to read right now, this will go to the back of the pile...


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