Title: When the World was Flat (And We Were in Love)
Author: Ingrid Jonach
Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Length: 272 pages
Original Publishing Date: September 3rd, 2013
Where I got it: NetGalley
Links: Goodreads Amazon Author's Website
Synopsis from Goodreads:
"Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom
Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway.
Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as
if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable
exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her
reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep
bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them,
together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about
their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an
earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more
terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers
that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no
way to make it flat again.
An epic and deeply original sci-fi
romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the
world-bending wonder of true love itself."
Main characters: 2/5
Lillie seemed a little bland. I knew that she liked photography and that her mom was really into some quirky New Age stuff. One interesting thing about her was how she used repetition of words to calm herself. I would have liked to see a lot more development and a little more backbone from Lillie.
Secondary characters: 2/5
The cast of secondary characters were also a little bland and fit into tropes and stereotypes. For example, Lillie's two best friends are Jo and Sylv, one of who is described as larger and "mannish" and the other who is described as sexually promiscuous and an aspiring model. I'm not even sure how to describe Tom, which I guess denotes how underdeveloped he was as a character. Even Lillie's mom was "the kooky new age lady" and we didn't see a lot more development than that.
Writing style: 3/5
I'm never a huge fan of novels that have a reminiscing writing style- I'm sure this has a more technical term but for example, Lillie states "Looking back now, I understand...". I feel like these sort of "looking back" statements ruins a lot of the surprise and tension in the writing. Beyond this minor nitpick, I generally enjoyed Jonach's writing style. The pacing could sometimes drag a little and I wish we had learned the "big secret" slightly earlier but the dialogue was generally believable and the descriptions were neither too weighted and long or too meager.
Okay, I knew as soon as the word "soulmates" was uttered that I was in for an instalove treat. No surprises there and I definitely wasn't a fan. However, the plot itself was mind-boggling- in a good way. It made me think and consider different possibilities. Some of it was a little over-the-top- and I'm not even talking about the basic plot but rather some of the small details that Jonach chose. I loved the entire premise however; it was thoroughly original and mind-bending.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the ending. I appreciated that it left some things open to interpretation because the plot/premise itself was so mentally challenging that I think leading the reader to the exact ending would have been a cop out. Instead, Jonach leaves an open ending with the promise of hope.
Best scene: The train scene
Reminded Me Of: Sort of The Time Traveler's Wife meets Source Code (the movie)
Positives: The unique premise, writing style, ending
Negatives: Bland and underdeveloped characters, some minor pacing issues, the "looking back" style
Cover: It's really pretty and I love the font (and the title! Did I say that yet?)
Verdict: A novel with a unique and interesting premise weakened by bland characters and some minor other issues
Rating: 6.0/10 (3 stars)
Your Thoughts: Have you read it? What did you think? If you haven't, will you be adding it to your TBR list? Let me know!