Reader’s Favorite Critique
The Photo Traveler
(The Photo Traveler Series)
by Arthur J. Gonzalez
Young Adult – Fantasy/Sci-Fi
Reviewed on 12/13/2013
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Reviewed by Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite
Many people use the phrase ‘getting lost in an image’ but what if it really happened? In The Photo Traveler by Arthur J. Gonzalez, that is exactly the position Gavin finds himself in when he finally locates his biological grandparents. Living with adoptive parents after a devastating fire destroys his home and apparently kills his parents, Gavin lives through the horror of the death of his new mother, hostility of an older sister, and increasing abuse from his ‘dad.’ Just before his 18th birthday, when the situation escalates totally out of control, he leaves this dysfunctional environment in Nevada and travels to the last known address of Ed and Estelle Greene, the parents of his father. There, he learns about his unique ability to travel into the actual time and place of any photograph. Now anxious to track his parents, Gavin begins to travel in time where he discovers some very unsettling information and has to face the consequences of altering the past. The important question is whether the present will remain the one he knows or if things are thrown completely out of balance.
The Photo Traveler is a unique story dealing with time travel and the seriousness of the so-called ‘butterfly effect.’ Gavin is thrust into extraordinary circumstances when he learns of his legacy as a photo traveler and the fact that there are only very few of these special individuals left. He does not know who he can trust and is forced to think quickly in many situations when the players show their true colors. The Photo Traveler is an exciting story that opens up plenty of questions about the nature of time, making choices, and changing your mind. It is up to each person to decide if being able to go back in the past is really a good thing or not. Like they say, you have to be careful what you wish for.
What scares you the most? Dying prematurely and/or dying without leaving something meaningful behind. Something that I can be remembered by. And before I am able to set my family up for a worry/stress-free life. Everything I do is fueled by the ambition I have to one day call my mom and sisters and tell them, “Quit your job. I’ve made it. And so have you.” After my Pops died, I promised him I’d care for the family. And I can’t/won’t stop until I know I’ve accomplished that.
What makes you happiest? Being with family and friends.
What’s your greatest character strength? I would have to say that I am very thoughtful and genuine. I think this has allowed me to relate to the majority of people I come across. I always treat the other with respect and I make a concerted effort at making others feel appreciated and comfortable.
What’s your weakest character trait? I’m impatient as hell! I want results right away. Sometimes I have to take a breather and remember that a majority of the experience is in the journey.
Why do you write? It comes natural to me. I imagine all the different results that may generate from my stories. Maybe I inspire one person, maybe I motivate another, or maybe I just help entertain someone’s boredom streak. All these reasons make me feel like I have a greater purpose to fill. And we all want to have a greater purpose.
Have you always enjoyed writing? Yeap! I’d write stories as a child and draw illustrations to match them up. During my middle school and high school years I focused more on songwriting and poetry. It was around my Freshman year of college at UF, where I started putting my ideas into story format. Then it became an obsession.
Who is your favorite author? I’m really enjoying John Green. I love his style of writing and distinct voice he has.
What book should everybody read at least once? I think everyone should read the Hunger Games series and Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Is there any books you really don’t enjoy? Eek! I’ll sit this one out. I may not enjoy someone’s particular story, but I understand that they put tremendous effort into bringing it to life. I wouldn’t want to take from that. It becomes their baby – and I wouldn’t tell someone their baby is ugly!
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Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction
Rating – PG
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The Photo Traveler is a really good book. I highly recommend it. If you like sci-fi thrillers, then this is a book for you. Even if you don’t, I am sure you will enjoy this book tremendously.
The Photo Traveler starts out with Gavin, who has been adopted by an abusive family. He believes his parents have been killed in a fire. The adoptive father had not always been abusive until his wife was murdered at a store, while she and Gavin were out shopping with their daughter, Mel. After that day, Jet, his adoptive father, blamed Gavin and made him pay by beating him.
Gavin finds out he actually has biological grandparents that are still alive, and sets off to Washington DC to find them. Once there, they tell him that he is a Photo Traveler, and his parents may not indeed be dead. He also finds out that there are people after them for vials that contain a liquid that will allow travel at any time, not just through photos taken in the past. With those vials they could change the world. Gavin goes through many surprising journeys trying to find the truth of his life, and the lives of his grandparents, and to find out how the vials are used to change history and possibly the future.
I very highly recommend The Photo Traveler and cannot wait for the second book to come out. Thanks for the great book, Mr. Gonzalez. The Photo Traveler is definitely my cup of tea!!