Monday, May 5, 2014

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil Review

"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?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you."

3:59 is annoying to type. Still, I will refrain from calling this book "this book." Oops. I didn't mean to do that right there.

The beginning of 3:59 is really confusing. These two doppelgangers are nearly impossible to tell apart. I'll explain it, so if you ever read this book, you'll have a better understanding of it. There is two dimensions. In one, there's a girl named Josie, who is our heroine. In the other, there's Jo, who is Josie's twin/doppelganger with better hairstyle. These two dimensions are far from similar. In Jo's, there's a world runned by the Grid. In Josie, there is here, in our dimension. Does that make sense? I hope so, because I'm about to talk about more confusing things.

It's good that everything clears up in the middle section of the book. By that time, Jo and Josie already switch places. Josie finds out that everything is not what Jo seems. Plus, her mother (or that dimension's mother) is in the hospital because of her mental disorders. I could mention more things, or you can read the synopsis. In Jo's dimension, Nick, Josie's ex-boyfriend, carries a gun and knows the truth about Jo/Josie's swap. Or perhaps, I could talk about Jo's father, who is the most sticky and shady character.

I think McNeil handled the writing and the crazy plot pretty well. Traveling through dimension is pretty icky stuff. Talking about science would normally bore people unless their name is Albert Einstein or something along the lines. I applaud McNeil for keeping me entertained despite the slow, not to mention confusing, beginning.

Josie complains about her life. Yes, I do realize that in her dimension, her boyfriend, Nick, cheated on her with her best friend, Madison. What else should I talk about? Oh, her mother is really distant from her and she got fired from her job. Her father isn't in her life, because her parents are divorced. What else should I mention? Anyway, it's nice to see character growth in Josie despite her past. She thankfully takes advantage of the second chance Jo unintentionally gave her. Unfortunately, Jo's dimension's Nick and Josie are made to be tragic from the start. It's like Romeo and Juliet all over again. The last sentences of 3:59 are absolutely perfect. It's totally like star-crossed lovers.

The ending makes me hope for more. I'm totally addicted to this story. I would be happy to read some more, even if it's from another character other than Josie or Jo. Another dimension, another story, another sequel. I would be so happy if that happens. Vote yes for sequel! Or short story. I don't care. I want something from this world.

Rating: Four out of Five (Boo for beginning).

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