Review: 3:59, by Gretchen McNeil

3:59, by Gretchen McNeil • Published by Balzer + Bray • ★★★½ • Goodreads • TBD
 So I dived into 3:59 thinking I'm going to get eerily chilled to the bones, but it's actually more sci-fi than paranormal like it's being marketed. The cover too, prepared me for creepy stuff, but I got none of that. Regardless, 3:59 is still a good read, even with a wobbly start.

The beginning to 3:59 was a hot mess. It's understandable for a high school student going through estrangement with her family, in addition to losing her job, and her boyfriend fiasco. But once I waded through the icky, mopey mess that was Josie's thoughts and proceeded to science-y parallel universe content, it got way more interesting!

The way McNeil uses physics to anchor the concept of parallel universes to reality is excellent, making 3:59 quite a believable story. (At least for me, as I like thinking about parallel universes too!) The introduction of a horror created from the portals between universes is also a good problem for the story. It does bring to light the idea that there will always be undiscovered creatures waiting to be found in our universe, let alone other universes!

The ending is bittersweet. I liked the rapport between Other Nick and Josie, but what I enjoyed even more is that McNeil chose to return characters to their proper worlds, instead of interchanging them. That, for me, makes this story a better one.

I would have liked more involvement from Other Jo. Though the appearance of Tony surprised me, in a pleasant way, I like him more than I thought I would, for a shadowy of a character (quite literally).

3:59 is a book I would recommend to the casual sci-fi reader. But if you're looking for creepy thrills, this is not it.


  1. I was expecting more creepy with this too - but I think the sci-fi aspect was so well done that it made up for my disappointment. And I liked how detailed the science aspect was, even if I didn't quite understand it all! I'm glad you enjoyed this one overall!

  2. Yeap, it sure is! I feel that McNeil wrote in enough science elements so that it's not causing information overload, but it's also enough to make it believable even if we don't quite get it (lmao)!


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