Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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.

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 368
Type: Hardcover

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17

I was really excited to read 3:59. I like scary books, and as many of you know Gretchen McNeil is known for them, so naturally I felt inclined to try this. I haven't read any of her other books, but Ten is somewhere in my reading pile. 

The first fifty pages did not grab me at all. I can't put my finger on why. One of main aspects that bugged me was that I despise cheating and that happened in this book. So many things were spinning out of control in the main character, Josie's, life and I felt as if her only reactions were 'oh great' and 'this sucks', which didn't seem real to me. 

However, after the first fifty pages or so the book began to pique my interest. It was very fast-paced and the concept of living in your doppleganger's world where things are the same but not was really interesting! I've never read a book like it. Josie, who at first seemed too normal and mundane, grew on me. Her funny, smart, take-it-as-it-is attitude finally shined through.

Science plays a huge roll in this book, and while everything sounds super smart it also makes sense. I never felt too confused!

3:59 definitely has its scary moments, but there are also sweet romantic moments to counteract the tension and suspense. I thought McNeil balanced that well. She also did a great job of unraveling the mystery while the thriller continued. There were a lot of things I did not expect, but totally should have saw coming!

My one other complaint was at the end of the book. I feel as though everything tied up too fast. There were a lot of strained relationships that I felt too easily melded back together, like nothing ever happened. But more importantly, I did not like how Nick and Josie had insta-love at the end of the book. I do get it in some respects, but to be in love where you would risk the things they were willing to risk for each other seemed a little over the top. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed their romance otherwise. 

The one fun thing about the ending was that even though this was a stand-alone novel, there was a sort of cliffhanger. This book still had resolution, but it left you with something to think about after the final pages. 

I would definitely recommend this book to readers of thrilling, scary novels where no character, however loved, is safe and the suspense carries through until the very last page. 

This book releases September of 2013! 
Buy Hardcover | $17.99

Happy reading!
Rachel, age 17


  1. Oooo, a McNeil book! I haven't read any of her books, but I have heard awesome things about her and her books - especially this new one! I'm a total wuss when it comes to horror books and movies - two of my best friends are scary movie fans, and they always try to drag me with them to the theater, and I'm just like NO. I'm really glad that this book was thriller-awesome! I don't read too many thrillers, but my favorite is Altered by Jennifer Rush. Slow beginnings make me sad, but you powered through it nicely! Overall, this book sounds great! I love this review, Rachel, it's very balanced! :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. YAY! Thank you! I'm trying not to be so lonnng...
      And sometimes I wish I didn't like scary movies because they still SCARE me I just love the thrill. My friends and I went to The Conjuring last week and...I almost had to leave. Scariest. Movie. Ever. And I'm comparing it to Insidious and Sinister!!!! DON'T WATCH IT.

  2. I've read Possess by Gretchen McNeil and it was ok but not great. This sounds like I'd like it more because parallel worlds fascinate me.

    1. You would absolutely love this then! She did a really cool job of creating a concept for one.

  3. I keep meaning to pick up one of her books but I never have!! This one sounds so facinating! I mean parallel universes? Count me in!!
    And I LOVE scary books!! So having a scary one with an good blend of romance is definitely a good thing!
    It's too bad a bout the insta love at the end though!
    This book sounds pretty good! I think I'll definitely be picking it up soon! Thanks for the great review!!

    1. Thanks so much!
      So you like scary about scary movies?? ;)


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