Publishing Date: September 17th, 2013
Pages: 368 pgs
Source: borrowed from a fellow blogger for review
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I have always liked the premises for Gretchen McNeil's novels but with her first two novels, I think I expected a lot more from them and ended up being slightly disappointed. I mean they were good but just meh for me. When Kathy from A Glass of Wine came back from BEA with this novel, I knew that I really wanted to read it. For starters, the cover is great. I love the splash of colour on a mostly black cover. I also love the alarm clock font of the title. Secondly, the premise for this story sounded right up my alley. Every 12 hours at 3:59, Josie sees her doppelganger in her mirror. Josie is going through some tough times with her boyfriend at home and thinks that pulling a Parent Trap type manoeuver is just the thing to help her out. The story explores the idea of the grass is always greener while incorporating terrifying creatures that eat humans and alternate dimensions.
This novel was a hit for me. I feel like McNeil's writing has improved and her world building was great. I found that once I picked this book up I wanted to keep reading. It didn't take me long at all to get into the story and I think that it was a very well-thought out book. I really liked reading about alternate worlds and it got my mind thinking about what other worlds there might be out there. Who would I be in one of these worlds?
I think that the characters were also well developed. While, Josie and Jo are supposed to be the same person in different universes, they each have their own personalities that are formed based on the world in which they live. This is the whole nature vs nurture question.
Overall, the book was interesting and different. I quite liked it and I think that it surpasses McNeil's other novels. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.