Release Date: October 2, 2012
(Thanks to ATWT for letting me participate on this tour!)
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv.
The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day.
As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.
1. (+) Camden, the protagonist - I never thought I'd actually like reading from a jock's perspective but Emily Hainsworth makes Cam seem real, his hopes and dreams of playing football again also real. Cam's a bit of an alpha, which I don't usually like either, but here it also makes him a bit vulnerable and more of a sympathetic character. He's also specifically cut himself off from his former friends but since you get to read from his POV, it makes you less irritated with him (even though there was a part of me that objected to how volatile he acted in dealing with Mike, his more or less only friend).
2. (+) Portrayal of Grief - It's stunning how well Emily Hainsworth portrays grief. It's never too much (to the point where you want the protag. to move on already) or too little (to the point where you don't actually believe in how much the protag. loved the person). Cam's grief felt real and was there in every action he took.
3. (+) World-building - If you read this summary thinking you were going to get an explanation for why there are two separate but parallel worlds, well... you were duped. It's really a shame that they're calling this a scifi romantic thriller and not just a romantic thriller because the scifi part isn't developed... Nonetheless I still enjoyed it. I liked that the author carefully showed us that this was another world with each of Cam's interactions and experiences, and we learn about the slight differences in characters and events through scenes, not telling descriptions. I also liked how she established the existence of the portal into the parallel world -- or rather, the idea behind it.
4. (+/-) Thriller Aspects - On one hand, it succeeds with several of its thriller aspects. It was also short and didn't prolong the story with unnecessary filler which ratcheted the tension. At the same time, I was still able to predict certain (but not all) parts of the story.
5. (+) Themes - The themes in this novel were done really well. I liked the hint of second chances, what could be, and how your experiences influence who you become... the question of "what if" that often drives authors to write a certain story is really prevalent here.
6. (+) The Romance - The cleverness of having this parallel world is that Hainsworth can compare and contrast the romantic relationships. It was a good way of showing what was real, what was fake, what the flaws were in each relationship, and what also made each sweet. It made every one more realistic, and I kept wishing that Cam notice what's right in front of him...
7. (--) Forgetableness - This is going to sound really mean, and I don't want to at all, and this is nothing against the author... but I finished reading this book and it didn't stay with me. It was easy to forget because it didn't pull at my emotions. It has good cinematic qualities -- if producers get on their shit and actually make this movie (the book's already been optioned), then they could make it more atmospheric and suspenseful but even then it wouldn't be the kind of movie I'd see (some thrillers, yes, but the premise behind this one isn't the type I think I'd go to the movies for). The idea of a parallel world was cool and well done, but altogether the book lacked... depth for me.
8. (+) Writing - Hainsworth has an engaging style, one that gets right to the center of things. Perfect for the thriller part of the story.
9. (+) Pacing - Admittedly, in the beginning I was a little restless, waiting for everything to start, but once the story got going, it went fast.
10. (+) The Cover - I'm not much a fan of people on covers, but this one gets right to the feel of the book. The darkness, the suspense, the drowning in grief, the shaded title...
The synopsis above is one of the best summaries of a book that I've ever read. If you like it, then I'd say go for the book too.