Cover Afterimage: A girl's hair blends into a burst of melty colors

About the Book

Title: Afterimage
Published: 2018
Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Cover Story: Watercolor Big Face
BFF Charm: Meh
Talky Talk: Sci-Fi Lite
Bonus Factors: Moral Codes, Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff
Relationship Status: Your Pseudo-Therapist Friend

Cover Story: Watercolor Big Face

Hello, Big Face, it feels like it’s been a while. What can I say? Ho hum. The colors are pretty? This is a fairly forgettable cover.

The Deal:

Camryn knows she effectively killed her mother. Her inability to drive her car on to the Agency’s military base that day—the location triggers her Panic Disorder—caused enough of a delay that kept her mom in the science building when a massive explosion occurred, leveling miles and killed thousands. Not only is she wracked with guilt, but Camryn is somehow the only survivor found in the devastation…which means everyone is regarding her with suspicion and curiosity. If they knew the real truth, they’d really be locking her up for good, because when Cam woke up in the hospital, she found herself with a new…unearthly companion. Quint is a cute boy in a lab coat with no memory of who he is, but a few things are considered facts: he cannot go further than ten feet from Camryn, he’s a little fuzzy around the edges, and no one else can see him but her.

All Cam wants to do is sink into her depression and guilt, but mysteries demand answers, conspiracies need to be revealed, and time as we know it may be running out…

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

Camryn seems nice enough, and she’s been dealing with a lot lately, with her panic attacks increasing over the last year and now the loss of her mother and the possible loss of her sanity. She’s walled herself off from her old friends and is doing homeschooling to get through the rest of high school. Because this book was so action-oriented, I can’t say I got a good impression of who Cam really is. I did appreciate that she kept pushing herself not to give up, because Lord knows I’d be a sobbing mess in her shoes, but I don’t know if that’s enough to base a friendship on.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

This really wasn’t a kissing book, what with all the killing and explosions and life or death stakes cropping up. I went through half the story thinking this might be one of those rare reads where a teenage guy and girl are in close quarters (see above: no further than ten feet) and don’t hook up. But there were some feelings floating out there in the ether. I won’t say it was totally instalove, but the way it unfolded didn’t make me super invested in the couple.

Talky Talk: Sci-Fi Lite

I liked the concept Hughes came up with; it’s a conspiracy theory, time travel, alternate dimension smorgasbord and has elements of many things I love in a sci-fi mystery. It was an easy book to get through, and I think there were only minor moments where explanations felt muddied. I wanted to love the story more than I did, though, and it felt in part due to the execution of the aforementioned concepts. The characterization was a bit weak, especially in pivotal characters like Quint (hence my lack of interest in the romance). He needed a strong personality to make up for his lack of memories, but the conversations between he and Cam were banal. There were so many moving pieces to the plot that I would’ve also wished for a longer page count to really give certain elements time to shine. The base where Cam’s mom works is part of a “new scientific division of the Army”, which sounds pretty intriguing, but there was never time to explore that concept beyond a simple setup. It was a decent first novel and I hope for more future inventive plotlines from Hughes. 

Bonus Factor: Moral Codes

Close up of dictionary page for "morality"

Camryn faces an increasingly crazy-ass world, and there are several situations she finds herself in that force her to question the core of who she is and what she believes. It’s easy to say you’ll never be a killer when you aren’t pointing the barrel of a gun at someone…

Bonus Factor: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff

Yup, the concepts of experiencing time travel or the possibility of infinite dimensions are just never not going to be interesting to me.

Relationship Status: Your Pseudo-Therapist Friend

Hey, Book, whenever you’re done going through what you’re going through, remember when we were still sorta friends? If you want to give me a call and get some weird stuff off your chest, I’ll hear you out with an open mind. I can’t promise I’ll believe everything you say, but I’ll listen politely.

Literary Matchmaking

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)

For a better take on alternate dimensions, avenging family members, and complicated boys, read Claudia Gray’s fabulous Firebird trilogy that starts with A Thousand Pieces of You.


Check out Invictus by Ryan Graudin for another standalone that deals in timey-wimey high stakes and features a great set of time travelers.

The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1)

Look to Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere for a slightly more fantastical take on the idea of people controlling energy and time.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Page Street Publishing. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Afterimage is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.