Review: 3:59

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

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.

(Description from Goodreads)

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Before I get into reviewing this book, I just have to say that the main reason I picked this book up in the first place was because the author has the same first name as me. While that may seem like a silly reason to some, anyone with a unique or uncommon name can understand how awesome it is to find someone with the same name as you. So yay to Gretchen McNeil for having the same name as me!

Once again, I have found myself waiting several days (actually about 2 weeks in this case) after finishing a book before I write a review for it. This usually only happens when I’m in a book hangover or when I really just don’t know what to write (in this case, it was a book hangover.) There were so many fantastic things about this book that caused it to receive a 5 out of 5 from me, and quite honestly, I have no idea where to begin. So, let’s go with my favorite part of books: the characters.

As the description says, Josie’s life is spiraling out of control and she’s looking for any way to escape it. I’ve never given much thought to the idea of alternate worlds, but now I’m scrambling to try and find more books that focus on them (I think I’ve found one actually.) I enjoyed the author’s description of Josie, especially how brilliant she was in the field of science; all too often, you find main characters are typically good at certain subjects, mostly English, so I loved the change-up of having a main character super smart in science. Of course, despite being super-brainy in science, Josie is a typically teenager who has to deal with heartbreak, especially when it happens at the hands of two of those closest to her. I loved Josie’s composure: put together, but not so much so that it isn’t realistic. Josie’s best friend, Penelope, was also fantastic. Like Josie, she was super smart in science, making the two an unstoppable dynamic duo. I also loved Jo’s Nick…not Josie’s, Jo’s. Definitely don’t get the two confused. Oh the world of alternate realities…sometimes it causes such confusion.

Aside from the characters, the details within the story were outstanding, even the graphic ones. Without going overboard, the author used imagery in the very best way, making sure the reader was able to perfectly imagine every scene and situation. There were a few situations where I wanted to gently poke (or perhaps, shake) Josie and ask her, “really? You’re not quite catching on yet?” but she eventually figured it out; those situations just happened to be a little bit more predictable than others. Unlike others who have reviewed this book, there were several plot twists that I did not see coming, though I should have assumed they would be. There was also one character that I thought for sure was going to be a mega villain, but she/he (I won’t say which) really didn’t show up at the conclusion like I was expecting.

The ending still has me feeling conflicted as to whether or not I loved it or absolutely hated it. I did enjoy the romance aspects of the book, but because of how rushed everything felt, I’m not sure if I like that the ending was all about love and what people do when they are in love. Sure, teenage love can be like that, one big whirlwind, but it wasn’t like there were months together…it was only a matter of days. So I’m still up in the air about how I feel about the ending. If there’s going to be a sequel (it almost feels like there will be), then I love the ending. But if there isn’t going to be one, then I’m more on the ehhh fence. Either way, it did tie the whole book together, and that’s what matters the most.

3:59 is without a doubt a unique and thrilling read. It has been quite some time that I managed to finish a book in just a few days (two in this case) because of work, school, and life, but this book did the trick. I loved this book, even with some aspects leaving me feeling a little unsatisfied. I can’t wait for my next book order for my library to come around so I can order this book for my high school students to read. Yes, it’s so good, I plan to spend money from my budget on it…that should be all you need to know abut the book right there, ha!


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