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Review 3:59 by GRETCHEN McNEIL @GretchenMcNeil

Book Description
 September 17, 2013

From Possess and Ten author Gretchen McNeil comes a deliciously eerie science-fiction horror story in the tradition of Lisa McMann's Wake trilogy and the movie Sliding Doors.

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. And just when she thinks it can't get worse, she wakes to an image of herself in the bedroom mirror. Except it's not her at all—the girl in the mirror is blonder and prettier. And her name is Jo.

The two girls are doppelgängers whose universes overlap every twelve hours at 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to pass through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo's world is far from perfect, and the stuff of nightmares lurks around every corner. And when Josie finds herself trapped there, her life becomes more dangerous—and more deadly—than she ever imagined.


Singer. Writer. Clown.

Gretchen is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown. Her YA horror/paranormal POSSESS debuts with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins, August 23, 2011. Her second novel, TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – also with Balzer + Bray is tentatively scheduled for a Fall 2012 release.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4′s Code Monkeys and she currently sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. She is a founding member of vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as “Monday,” and she is an active member of both The Enchanted Inkpot, a group blog of YA and middle grade fantasy writers, and The Apocalypsies, a group blog of 2012 children’s debut authors.

You can find Gretchen on Twitter, Facebook, and on her blog.

AND -- she always wears FABULOUS SHOES!  



Josie is having a bad day and it just seems to get worse.  She just found out her parents are divorcing, her science experiment that she hopes will lead her to dream college isn't cooperating and her boyfriend, Nick, cheated on her -- with her "best" friend.  Now it seems the whole high school is picking on her, making snide jokes as well as lots of typical whispers.  Oh, and her brother has cancer.  Yep, her life sucks.  So when she sees another Josie in her bedroom mirror, one who is a bit prettier, a bit blonder, a girl known as Jo.  Seeing another world, she wonders if she can put her universe back together and have a chance at normal again, even for a day.  Meanwhile, there is a serial killer on the loose.

Jo, the girl in the mirror, is actually Josie in a parallel universe, one where she isn't walked on, and Josie finds that their lives link up every twelve hours at 3:59.  Except everything isn't always greener on the other side. Josie finds that even though she has her boyfriend back and he treats her much better.  Instead of a serial killer, there are The Nox, which are the things of nightmares.  So even with a better version of herself, there are still downsides.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this story, some of which are surprising and some I guessed.  I guess this would be a sci-fi thriller, with a good balance between the two.  I love those sciencey things!  The whole idea of Josie excelling at math and science is something I adore in female characters. There needs to be a lot more of those!  I really have to applaud Gretchen for coming up with this plot.  The characters are all given the chance to show both sides.  I could really see this as a movie like Freaky Friday in the Twilight Zone.  I seem to have been reading a lot of books in this genre lately.  


  1. After your review, I so want to read this! I loved that movie Sliding Doors, and this blurb sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. It sounds like an interesting read! I'll definitely have to look into it. :)


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