Author: Gretchen McNeil
Publishing Company: Balzer & Bray
Genre: YA—Paranormal/Fantasy/Science Fiction
Released: September 17th 2013
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.
The first time I ever heard of Gretchen McNeil it was around the end of 2012. That also happened to be the year that I really started getting into YA books. I hadn’t heard about Gretchen prior to that year, but once I did it felt like all bloggers and readers were raving about her books. I felt left out at the time, but I also wasn’t sure if I wanted to let go of the small amount of supernatural, paranormal, and dystopia I’d begun to read then. I wasn’t sure just how ready I was to move on and embrace a new genre. It so happens that a year later would be the time to read my first Gretchen McNeil book.
3:59 started out really contemporary-ish. We start out with main character Josie Byrne living her very normal teenage life in high school with what seems like the perfect friends and boyfriend. Actually Josie only has two friends, Madison and Penelope. Josie’s boyfriend’s is Nick and I was confused at the start because everything seemed to be going fine. That is until Josie goes to Madison’s house to talk with her about everything that’s not going right in her life and to get advice. That’s when she finds out that Madison and Nick have been betraying her behind her back because they’ve been seeing each other for a while. Josie is so broken hearted and I felt so much sympathy for her. I didn’t think it was fair that her best friend and boyfriend would pull a move like that on her, especially when Josie’s going through personal problems at home with her parents. I was proud when Josie tried to move on from that episode with her head held high and start things over as a single person. Although even then it was easy to tell just how much Josie was not over Nick and how much she missed him. For a while I really hoped Josie would really get over him and just think about how it felt to be single and try to enjoy life. Until things took a surprising turn that I was half expecting and at the same time not sure of how things would turn out.
The moment Jo got into the picture I knew things would take a drastic turn in Josie’s life. It was just inevitable that nothing would happen at all. I wasn’t sure what Jo was exactly, if she was Josie’s doppelgänger or just the same person but in another dimension. As soon as Josie asked the same questions I ended up finding out exactly who Jo was. At the same time I told myself that it was sort of like twins separated at birth because I knew my head was trying to wrap around itself on the concept of alternate universes. When Josie finally made the decision to go through the portal and finally meet Jo in person, I knew things would become much bigger than they’d started out and they did.
The pacing started out a teensy bit slow at the beginning, but things started speeding up much more as soon as Josie goes through that portal. I got to meet new characters (actually their not really that new, just the same people with different personalities) and it was pretty trippy for a while. I felt like I had to re-meet characters that I’d gotten to know before and start all over again. It was certainly nice to get to know Nick all over again though. Nick the doppelgänger was definitely swoon worthy, a lot more than his counterpart from the other side. I couldn’t help but notice the same things that Josie did while living in Jo’s world and I understood why that Nick would be more desirable than the one she’d gone out with before. I know for certain that I ended up swooning over that Nick than the one I’d gotten to know at the start. There were also creatures of the night involved in the story that were pretty creepy. Especially while reading at night, the shadows the trees make by my window creeped me out for a few days. I felt like those monsters came out of the story only to haunt me too.
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil was an amazing story. I know for certain that I’ve never read anything quite like it before. Throughout the story I managed to care about a few of her characters, the first being Josie Byrne who showed signs of growth within the actions and decisions she had to make. Doppelgänger Nick and both Penelope’s were the type of people I wouldn’t mind knowing in real life because they were the type of friends that supported Josie through thick and thin. After reading 3:59 I know that I have to read some of Gretchen’s other works and I really look forward to doing that soon. I hope others out there that haven’t read any of Gretchen McNeil’s books do so ASAP! I totally recommend for everyone to read 3:59! I’m sure you won’t regret it.
4.5 STARS - Totally Awesome! I loved it, would read again.