ARC-REVIEW: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Title: 3:59
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: September 17th 2013
Pages: Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: ARC received at BEA

Summary from Goodreads:
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 was a intense science fiction novel that mixed parallel universes with a love story.  
  • It did not make up for some of the books other faults but I did love that it took place relatively close to me.  So I knew a lot of the places referenced!  Wooo for living in MD. 
  • I really liked the characters.  They felt like real high schoolers facing common struggles with popularity, first love, and making friends.  Josie was a smart, not just general smart, I am taking the science fair winning junior genius kinda smart.  Penelope, one of Josie's friends was also a super smart girl, who was a good friend to Josie.  Friendships and intelligence really had a strong role in the book; it was nice to read about characters who out smart the enemy. 
  • While 3:59 is not a traditional time traveling novel, 3:59 deals with time and space travel.  McNeil did a great job of showing the way the characters were similar to each other but still different and maintaining the dynamic of having two separate parallel universes.    

  • Some aspects of the story seemed unnecessary and just a bit far fetched.  There are night time creatures that are killing people that I had a hard time imagining what they actually looked like.  The creatures were not the main villain but they just were not fear inducing, I wanted to kind of laugh at them making it hard to take the scary scenes seriously. 
  • I did love the friendships but the romance... no thank you.  The romance was predictable and by the end was just plain corny.  I could not handle it, I had to roll my eyes a couple times.  
  • I did not think the writing itself was anything special, it was not bad but not great.  At some points I just felt rather bored.  

3:59 is a love story meet time and space travel all while still attending high school.  If you enjoyed All Our Yesterdays and can handle a more juvenile voice and some corny/stereotypical romance that you might enjoy 3:59.

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