Feb 19, 2014

Review--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 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.

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.

This was my first Gretchen McNeil novel! I had heard lots about this book when I was at RT last year. So much buzz surrounding it. So I decided to finally give it a try--been on a book buying binge lately, hoping its over since I am buying books that weren't on my release list and I am only adding to the TBR mountain madness. But that's likely not going to happen anytime soon!--and OMG, 3:59 was freaking fabulous!

Now I am pretty much a paranormal reader, but I do enjoy a good suspense, especially one where there's something "odd" going on. And what's more odd than parallel universes and doppelgängers?  Exactly! I was totally blown away with the awesomeness of this book. Granted, Josie is a bit of a science nerd--all in good fun! Her mother's a scientist--actually, she has another job title, but it's escaping me at the moment--so she kind of grew up with it. And let me tell you, science is soooo not my subject. So when we got to talking the "science language" and explaining the impossible, well, I got a little confused! Nothing wrong on Gretchen's part of course, just me not being able to understand science. That was my worst subject all through high school!

Anyway, Josie's life is falling apart. Her parents separated, her boyfriend cheats on her, her friend betrays her, she got fired from her part time job, her mother has been overly distant since the separation. Everything seems to fall to crap at once. So when Josie starts having dreams about Jo--the girl who is so like her, but has what appears to be a better life--well, Josie craves it. Then when she and Jo discover that their "magic" mirror can allow them to enter the other's world, they are all for a day in the life of the other.

But what Josie doesn't realize is that nothing is what it seems in Jo's life. Jo left out quite a bit in their "briefing". When Josie is ready to go home at the appointed time, she learns that Jo has tricked her and blocks the mirror against a wall, so no one can go in or out. Now Josie is stuck in this other world riddled with monsters--yes monsters that eat people at night!--and no way of getting home. She ends up finding some unlikely help from Nick, her ex-boyfriend's doppelgänger and his friends.

The pacing to this one was good! Granted, when it came to the talking about science-related things, like the time travel and other words I cannot recall at the moment, that's when it became sluggish for me. Science and me have never really been compatible. So the slowing down was probably just something that might happen to me, because I was doing my best to understand what the characters were talking about. It doesn't read like a textbook or anything, but when it comes to science I just feel like a big dope, especially physics. Pretty much like Penny feels whenever Sheldon speaks!

All I keep thinking about this book is wow! I mean, freaking holy cow wow!! It was just so awesome! It was an incredibly tense read as Josie continually tries to find a way home. The magic hour of course is at 3:59 am and pm, and the mirror is only open for one minute. It's so intense! Then we even learn more about what's going on and the intensity blows through the roof! It was definitely the ultimate thriller! I love these kinds of reads! And the ending, oh wow! That one definitely threw me through a loop! It kind of makes you wonder if the story isn't done yet, but at the same time, it does have an air of finality. You know, one of "those" kinds of endings!

Gretchen McNeil has definitely caught my eye after this incredibly awesome read! Definitely going to go check out her other reads that are out! If you're looking for that chilling, thriller kind of read, with a sprinkling of paranormal (ie: the parallel universe angle) then 3:59 is definitely the read for you!

Overall 4.5/5 stars--had to dock a half point because of the science talk. That's when the pacing really slowed down for me since it was always my worst subject! Other than that, I loved it!


  1. I am SO glad you enjoyed 3:59! I've had this on my shelve for months and still haven't got to it. I have so many books in my TBR pile and I've heard mixed reviews about it, so I put it off for a while. But I might pick it up sooner because of your great review! :)

  2. I heard that this one was much better then her other novel. I am fascinated with the science in this book but like you I think it would run a little slow for me because of it too.

  3. Really glad you liked this one... I have heard so many things about it and I have also heard quite a few negative reviews about it.

    I will be getting this asap. It looks so good! :) x

  4. Never heard of this book before! :O *ashamed*
    I will check it out. Your review made me wanna read it.

    Great post <3

  5. I've heard lots of good things about 3:59 too, Jessica. And I love the parallel universe angle. That sounds awesome. I'm glad this read knocked your socks off! Wonderful review!


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