DNF Review: 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Author: Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: BEA 2013
Review by: Jenn

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

1.5 stars out of 5 stars

 **This is a Did Not Finish review. I did not read the whole book, only up to page 72 . So this is just my thoughts up to where I read.**

I was super excited when I first started 3:59. I managed to meet Gretchen McNeil at BEA 2013 and I read the first chapter while waiting in line and I was intrigued. Once I finally got home and started reading though, I couldn't fully immersed myself into the story. I found myself easily distracted and not really caring about Josie, our main character.

I struggled to read and finish this book for about 7 to 9 months before finally calling it quits on page 72. At that point and after thinking things through, I'm just giving up on it. It took a lot of back and forth arguing with myself to DNF, especially after seeing a lot of my bookish friends loving it and rating it 4 to 5 stars, but I just couldn't keep doing that to myself. There are plenty of other books I could read so I might as well focus on them.

That's not to say I won't read any more of Gretchen's books, it just mean I get to pick another one. I'm just guessing 3:59 wasn't the book for me or it wasn't the time for me to read it.


  1. I'm sorry to hear this is a DNF for you. I always have a similar struggle when I dislike a book that all my friends adore.

  2. I can understand why you would DNF after that long! Sometimes that just happens and no matter how hard you try you can't get into the book. It has happened to me before. :(


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