Book Review: When the World was Flat (and We Were in Love)

Book Review: When the World was Flat (and We Were in Love)When the World was Flat (and We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach
Published by Osprey Publishing on 2013-08-27
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 320
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Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

When 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. But 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.

Pretty much nothing about this book worked for me. It was a shame because the premise was interesting. Parallel dimensions? Dimension jumping? Soul mates? All good things that I like. The way said things were executed in this book? Not something I liked.

To begin with, we have the characters. I’m not sure there was a character I liked in this book. I tried to like them, really I did. I’m not usually hard to please, but everyone in this book was either really boring, creepy, or obnoxious. Not to mention that they were very cookie cutter cardboard people. For example:

Lillie: YA protagonist who is whiny and average (below average) and continues to be average and static with no character development whatsoever

Sylv: Lillie’s disgustingly slutty best friend who is so disgustingly slutty I actually skipped her dialogue.

Jo: Lillie’s “manly” (what?) other best friend who’s a nerd who is in love with their 50 year old English teacher.

Melissa: Ex-best friend who has turned into Regina George except without Regina’s sense of style and superior sassy dialogue.

Tom: love interest, who is not interesting in the least, and even when his and Lillie’s unbelievable love began to blossom, I was still entirely bored with his cardboard personality.

The love story between Lillie and Tom was boring. Tom pretty much acted like he hated Lillie for 60% of the book and then suddenly it was like “I Love You” and kissing ensued. And it wasn’t like, sexy unresolved tension hating. It was like, oh man, he really doesn’t want to be around you…and they didn’t talk at all. They had zero chemistry. There were no fiery confrontations. And then suddenly *BAM* we’re in make-out territory.

AND THEN the “science” entered the playing field. Ok. I don’t claim to know anything about string theory or Einstein, but this was just too little too late. And Lillie just accepted everything Tom said and was like “oh I just love him so much”. The explanation was short, muddy, and confusing. I’m not saying it’s a breeze to write this kind of book. That’s why I stay away from dimensional jumping and time travel when I write anything, cause it’s freaking impossible to explain. But I wish it had been a little more incorporated into the plot. The first half of the book was this weird contemporary “Oh I hope the hot British boy notices me” story, and then the second half was like BAM SCI-FI INFO DUMP.

If you’re looking for something that deals with time-travel and soul mates and parallel lives, you should check out Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays and Karen Amanda Hooper’s Grasping at Eternity.

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