Author: Ingrid Jonach
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication date: September 2013
Source: Received from the publisher (Thanks, Caroline!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
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.
An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)
I am going to go ahead and break my rating down for you real quick: 1-teacup for the concept, 1-teacup for the cool science-y stuff and 0.5-teacup for the sweet ending. Yup. Now, moving on to the good stuff...
Any person with eyes and a beating heart would immediately want to read a book with a title: When the World was Flat (and we were in love). It just sounds so beautiful and mysterious at the same time, and it doesn't hurt that the cover is simple yet eye-catching, as well. There are a lot of great things going on for this book: gorgeous title, pretty cover and an interesting blurb that can draw a reader's attention but sad to say, its triple threatedness is really only for show. When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is actually just a one trick pony that started its routine okay, crashed and burned in the middle part and tried to save itself for the finale.
I am still on the fence as to what I feel about Lillie, the protag. She has a hippie mom who's obviously into New Age and from whom I got Renee (Bella from Twilight's mom) vibes from (but more about her later) and she really enjoys photography. Since I suck at photography, I was really impressed by her abilities and passion because if there's one thing I know, it's that if you aren't good at something, it's better to admire others who are good at that certain thing, haha. But seriously speaking, other than her semi-cool mom, her passion for photography, her really cliche friends and her creepy-ass dreams, Lillie is literally one of the most boring people I have ever read about. Lillie dreaming about her own death and hallucinating seriously seemed like the highlight of her life. Harsh? It's true though. Living in a tiny town like Green Grove really doesn't allow one person a lot of fun options. Poor Green Grovians, what sad, sad lives you lead.
Tom, Tom, Tom. Honestly, other than his good looks and his "secrets", he's kind of a Grade-A jerk. He literally doesn't talk to anyone and even though everyone is swooning over him, he acts like he has no social skills. Tom seemed like he spent his whole life under a rock and didn't know how to interact with other beings. I didn't connect with him at all. What a shame. And his name, Tom Windsor-Smith? So boring, seriously not interesting at all.
I'm going to talk about Lillie's friends before I mention the science-y stuff. Like I already said, Lillie has the most cliche friends ever. She has Slyv, the slut and Jo, the chubby, man-ish one. I don't even understand what their significance was! They didn't do anything. Sylv was literally just a slut who aspired to be a model and if someone even mentioned her sluttiness or her having no chance of ever becoming a model, she throws the biggest bitch fit you will ever see (as in White Chicks big). And all the obscene comments she made were so inappropriate and I'm not saying this because I'm a prude or conservative but because practically everything she says is crude. The only depth in her that I was able to see was at the very end. And Jo? I know I'm supposed to feel bad that her dad is dying and she's in love with her obviously married teacher, but I couldn't really bring myself to care. I couldn't relate myself to these characters and that made liking them so much harder. Their relationship is seriously so dysfunctional, I couldn't understand how they stayed friends for so long. And the thing with Lillie is that she's so non-confrontational, she just lets them do whatever they want without ever speaking up. She was so passive, ugh.
Now to the kind of cool stuff. There was a lot of science terms thrown around in this book. Lots of physics and theories were used. It all seems complicated once you read the book but let me simplify it for you: there are a lot of dimensions in the world and each decision we make creates different scenarios. Let's say I decided to drink coffee instead of chocolate milk, then two dimensions will be created, one where I will drink coffee and the other, me drinking chocolate milk. That's basically it. And there's also this thing called "merging", but I won't get too into it lest I spoil the story for you but since I know that everyone reading this is smart, I'm sure that you'll figure out how this stuff plays out in the book. Kudos to Ingrid Jonach for her thorough research because everything was well-thought out. So, yay!
I'm sure everyone is wondering about the romance in this story especially when the book's title is When the World was Flat (and we were in love) but unfortunately, it doesn't work out that way. The romance aspect of this book confused me. Yes, I get that Lillie dreams about Tom which is how she recognized him and that they're soulmates or something like that but my question is, how the heck did Tom fall in love with the Lillie in this dimension? He ignores her, he's a douche to her and they've had so little interaction which makes me wonder whether he stalks her and/or watches her from afar because I am still confused. If anyone can shed light on this, that would immensely help. I just didn't feel romance, you know? There were no sparks or even emotions, everything was flat. Mm-hmm.
To say that I am disappointed with When the World was Flat (and we were in love) would be an understatement. Its only saving grace was its ending and even that wasn't enough to save it, it tried and succeeded a bit but it didn't make it. The sad part is that I didn't even have really high expectations for this book and yet I still managed to be bummed out by it. It's not to say that it isn't a good book because I'm sure a lot of people would disagree and say that it is a good book but I guess it just wasn't for me. Oh well.