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  • 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
  • Karen Coats
McNeil, Gretchen. 3:59. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2013. 359p ISBN 978-0-06-211881-3 $17.99 R Gr. 7-10

When the bad in your life piles on—your parents split up, you catch your best friend in bed with your boyfriend, you lose your job—it’s perfectly understandable that you would grab any opportunity to slip through a portal into another world. After Josie figures out that the mirror in her room is showing her such an opportunity every twelve hours at exactly 3:59, she decides to take the risk, opting to trade with Jo, the girl who is her doppelgänger on the other side. On the other side of the mirror, however, everyone dislikes mean Jo; they also fear the power of her highly placed father, who controls the bright lighting that allows people to evade the Nox, who hunt, kill, and eat any human they can find out after dark. Josie quickly realizes that Jo has no intention of reversing the switch they pulled, but when the scientifically inclined teen manages to figure out a way to get home, her heart argues for her staying in her new world, where her boyfriend’s double is much more appealing than the original. Josie is a winning protagonist, book-smart but ordinary enough to be preoccupied with her own problems; in fact, her whole predicament is custom-designed for readerly investment. What sets this apart from [End Page 225] most sci-fi romances is the impressively clear explanations of the science of parallel dimensions; combine those with a sweet romance, a capable heroine, and a mystery that sets off an action/adventure sequence, and you have a book that will set science geeks’ hearts aflutter.



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pp. 225-226
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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