I picked up this book at ALA in January and was both excited and wary of it. Excited because I love sci-fi and love seeing it in YA books. Wary because the cover was not my cup of tea and it kind of gave me the impression of love triangles and drama.
I was so wrong to be wary! This book is nothing but excellence.
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.
The book starts off in a very Roswell-esque way. Main girl, Janelle, is killed. Mysterious boy, Ben, brings her back to life and Janelle flashes on memories of his life and finds that he has been quietly in love with her for years. And that he has secrets.
I loved so many things about this book I’m not even sure where I can start. I loved that there was a good mystery. I loved that teenagers felt like teenagers. I loved that there was real, lasting consequences for everyone’s actions.
There was so much going on in this book, in a good way, not a single page was boring or dull and the was a good mix of scenes. You would have character development, then plot development, then flashback, then action, then quiet scene, then more action. It kept things mixed up and never lost my attention. I was generally very angry at other life things interrupting my reading of this book.
Janelle was such a fantastic character. Caring and loyal, unless you pissed her off. She was good at knowing what she needed in her life and getting rid of the things she didn’t need. She never lead anyone on or let people walk over her. If someone treated her poorly than she did her best to cut them out of her life. Not to say that she was emotionless, far from it. I would say she had so many emotions and responsibilities that she knew how to peg the people who weren’t worth her worry.
Ben was…so many things but I think his shining moment was when he admitted that Wonder Woman was his favourite superhero because girls who rescue guys are hot. What more needs to be said? Sure, he’s smart and fun and he and Janelle have awesome chemistry, and he struggles with his morals and with what he really wants in life. But all of that awesomeness is second fiddle to him never, ever being threatened by a girl with a strong personality. Also he’s super smart and mysterious and I just loved everything about him.
And then there was all of the amazing supporting cast. Janelle’s family, Ben’s…uh…situation. Every single person in this book, even if they were only there for a page or two, clearly had their own agenda and motivations. Everyone seemed to have some small part of the puzzle and were all trying to bumble along in life. It was such a good ensemble book and I love (and HATED) that the ensemble didn’t make it all the way to the end. One death in particular tore me apart. Just not cool.
Also also also!! This book does what I have most been wanting to find in YA books. It has an Alex. Alex is Janelle’s best friend. They’ve gown up next door to each other, and have the ability to communicate with one another using facial expressions. They depend on each other and support each other. Alex is a straight male, not in a relationship and there is no one iota of romance between him and Janelle. They are friends and neither wants to be anything more. I love this. Very, very seldom (so seldom I can’t think of any other examples) is there a male friend who is both straight and unattached that is not a romantic interest of some kind. Which, in YA, upsets me because I had (and have) plenty of male friends who I would never look at in a romantic way and not EVER showing this in YA literature can only reinforce with young people (and not so young people) that girls and guys can never be just friends. Which is complete and utter nonsense. So, I loved Alex, a LOT. I loved how they were pretty much siblings and always knew they would be there for each other.
Also, I loved that they worked through their argument before the ending of the book. I didn’t want things to end with them upset with one another. I wouldn’t have liked it at all.
Speaking of the ending, and I know you’re probably getting tired of me saying this, but I loved it. I loved that the world was changed, not just the characters. I loved that there as simply no possibility of things going back to the way they were before and I loved that Janelle was practical enough to cut her loses while everything was going down.
I absolutely need the sequel right now. Right. Now.