The Story: I had pretty high hopes and expectations for 3:59 because of the synopsis and cover design. Overall, this was an entertaining read but I had some problems with it. The book starts with a good amount of high school drama- boyfriends cheating, best friend betrayals, etc- that sadly didn’t interest me.
Once we get into the science fiction aspects the scientific explanations were fairly heavy and wordy leading me to mostly skim over them. Honestly, they felt more like info dumps than anything else. I will say it appeared that McNeil had done a significant amount of research.
As for the twists they were fairly easy to spot early on though this really didn’t detract from the fast pacing (once the story really got going). There are a lot of action scenes and the idea behind the book is an interesting one. I loved that the parallel world was only visible at 3:59 so there was the expectation of that time every day and night. It created a really great sense of excitement and tension to the story having such a small window of time when both universes were connected.
The Characters: Here’s where this one really let me down, I never cared for a single character. I knew I was supposed to, but I couldn’t muster an ounce of caring for Josie, Nick, Penelope or any of them. I can’t say why none of them resonated with me, perhaps it was my mood or the writing style? I just found myself a casual observer of what I read.
The romance was laughable at certain points–if you’ve read other reviews you might have seen that there was an awkward make-out scene. After one of the many action scenes our couple finally have their long awaited kiss and it gets fairly passionate. This would have been a great scene if there hadn’t been a dead body next to them the entire time. Yes, they were kissing next to a dead body, which they conveniently forgot about (it was dark in the room) until Jo accidently touches it. The entire time I was reading I kept thinking, ‘there’s a body next to you!’ So unrealistic (I hope) and disturbing. Needless to say I wasn’t feeling it at all.
Final Thoughts: I had some issues with 3:59 mostly due to the characters and info dumping but overall it was an entertaining book due to fast pacing and lots of action. I think this book will appeal to many people and if you love the synopsis you should give it a go and see if it’s for you.