28 November 2013

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Source: Borrowed
Star Rating: ★★★
Rating: Enjoyable

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?
Josie crouched behind the photon laser module and aligned it with the beam splitter at the other end of the lab table.
I am a little bit disappointed by 3:59. Everyone should know by now that I love stories about parallel universes. Since they starting springing up in YA last year, I have been hunting them down and trying to get to as many as possible. It's a great trend, as is the time travel one, and I am so pleased that the science fiction genre is blowing up. But... 3:59 wasn't all that great.

I thought that the plot itself was pretty thrilling. I was captivated by it once Josie discovered the parallel universe and decided to visit Jo's world. I really liked seeing Josie experience Jo's life, and it was a lot of fun to see how things were different. I wasn't, however, a huge fan of the whole Nox thing. It felt too paranormal for me since 3:59 is supposed to be a science fiction novel.

I liked the characters, I guess, although I found them all to be fairly average. Josie was okay. I enjoyed reading about her, but she's not going to stick with me forever or anything. I kind of questionned the fact that she was basically a genius, and yet she took so long to put two and two together. Seriously, some of the twists in this book were basically shouted at her through a megaphone, and yet she still didn't get it.

And, of course, there's the instalove. I have mixed feelings about the romance because yes, it is instalove, but somehow I kind of shipped it. Josie and Nick's romance kind of makes sense, since Josie was with Nick in her own universe and had history with him, but these two had only known each other for a handful of days before declaring their love for each other. It got on my nerves, because I was having such a great time shipping them before that declaration happened. Nevertheless, Nick was kind of hot. 

I really liked the ending. It liked how it wrapped things up nicely, but left it just open-ended enough to give the reader hope on how things would turn out for the characters. It was all very exciting, and it reminded me of Lost. For reasons that I cannot say.

3:59 is a good read, it really was, I just had some issues with it and I couldn't move past them. I liked it well enough, but it's not going to stick with me or anything. I loved the science-y stuff and the parallel universes, but the rest fell a little flat.  


  1. Sometimes I find when you're reading a book from a genre you completely love you can have unusually high expectations of the book. I know that's happened to me a few times before where I've wanted to love something so badly but just haven't and it's just so frustrating.

  2. There was definitely some insta-love going on that was a bit ridiculous (although I did like the love interest, he was such a good guy), and there was one scene in particular that was over the top as far as what happened (I mean, come on, I know you're teenagers and your hormones are raging, but really? After what just happened? You couldn't leave the room? I'm not sure if the author thought it was romantic, but just...ew.

    I agree, it was good, but not great. ~Pam


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