My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads: Two days before the start of her junior year, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit by a pickup truck and killed—as in blinding light, scenes of her life flashing before her, and then nothing. Except the next thing she knows, she's opening her eyes to find Ben Michaels, a loner from her high school whom Janelle has never talked to, leaning over her. And even though it isn't possible, she knows—with every fiber of her being—that Ben has somehow brought her back to life.
But her revival, and Ben's possible role in it, is only the first of the puzzles that Janelle must solve. While snooping in her FBI agent father's files for clues about her accident, she uncovers a clock that seems to be counting down to something—but to what? And when someone close to Janelle is killed, she can no longer deny what's right in front of her: Everything that's happened—the accident, the murder, the countdown clock, Ben's sudden appearance in her life—points to the end of life as she knows it. And as the clock ticks down, she realizes that if she wants to put a stop to the end of the world, she's going to need to uncover Ben's secrets—and keep from falling in love with him in the process.
From debut author Elizabeth Norris comes this shattering novel of one girl's fight to save herself, her world, and the boy she never saw coming.
My thoughts: This is a fresh approach to YA fiction. Rather than having time travel or paranormal, Ben and Janelle explore String Theory. It's not as complicated as it sounds. Essentially, different humans inhabit different planes of space on the same earth at the same time. Some of these people are displaced. Great concept.
Janelle is a realistic protagonist. Her opinions and ideas are not set. She's a little on the insecure side. I liked that part of her, actually. Additionally, her mother is bipolar which adds depth to her character. The book begins with her death and then her return to life. Excellent premise. How did she heal so quickly and who is Ben?
I did have some issues with the book but many of them may be unfounded if the book is a series. Another issue might be cleaned up when the final copy is released. The latter issue is that Janelle has photographic memory but she can't remember Ben except peripherally. Making a big deal out of a photographic memory then proving it doesn't really exist bothered me. The other issues can be summarized by simply saying that there were a lot of situations, people and ideas introduced in the book that lacked direction or reason. The book ended appropriately but so many of the concepts introduced were inclusive. Why introduce the boyfriend and then push him aside? What purpose did the former best friend serve in the story? Why is she still marginalized? And the state of the earth at the end leaves the reader hanging. BUT, like I said, if these ideas will be addressed in a later book, then it's a non-issue. Also, if closure is reached with all of these ideas, I reserve the right to increase my star rating.
Solid writing style. Original ideas. I want to read this author more.