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Friday, July 26, 2013

When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach

Publisher: Ingrid Jonach
Original Release: September 3, 2013 
New Edition Publication Date: January 1, 2015
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
When I look back later, I’ll wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary. I like to think of it as BT and AT—Before Tom and After Tom.

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'd be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he's 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's been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that's 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's no way to make it flat again.

*This review has been updated due to it's re-release. Thank you Ingrid Jonach for my new edition copy of your ebook*

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

This is by far the most unique book I have read in 2013. After rereading it, I still love the depth of it's plot and the main couple Tom and Lillie. It was probably the first parallel universe book I have read and rereading again now two years later has not changed my affection towards it. I don't read a lot of sci-fi and admittedly I have generally avoided it but this book made me regret that. This book does have the typical characteristics of a YA novel, a protagonist with low self-esteem who has been a subject of bullying and has an otherworldly love interest who's gorgeous and rich and only has eyes for her. Don't let this deter you from reading it it stands on it's own in plot and in emotion.

1) As I already stated, the plot of this book is very unique. Using Albert Einstein's theories to explain the feelings of déjà vu and Lillie's memories made the whole story more realistic. Therefore, making this book easier to understand as well as really get into the characters thoughts and emotions. The plot felt so real that it was eerie. It's an amazing feat to make the plot of this book feel real, but Jonach accomplished this beautifully.

2) I loved Jonach's writing style, she used simple vocabulary but the way she arranged them invoked strong imagery and voice of her main character. Here are a few examples of what I mean:

"Green Grove, Nebraska, has a population of four thousand, six hundred and something, which results in about two degrees of separation between the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker."

"My mother makes herbal teas that are akin to dirty dishwater."

"The tan seat covers sag like granny panties under my body weight."

"I consult the filing cabinet of my mind, looking for a reason for the familiarity, but find locked drawer after locked drawer."

"I survey the sweeping staircase with its ornate banister that looks like it had been hand-carved from mahogany or some other expensive, well-oiled timber."

"These last three words are said with a what-the-fuck tone."

3) Almost all of the characters follow under the typical YA cliches. There is the main character who is our classic Mary Sue. She doesn't find her self to be pretty, she's not popular, but catches the attention for male main character who is the hottest guy in school as well as the richest. One of our heroine's best friend is an outgoing skank, that used to be close with the most popular girl in school and now are mortal enemies. Also, Lillie's other best friend is withdrawn and in a lot of ways jealous of Lillie. The true greatness about these stereotypical YA teens is that each one are well-rounded and with distinct voices that makes it easy to overlook their commonplace personalities.

4) The plot of this book is very unusual but it all centers around one thing: love. The relationship between Tom and Lillie is truly heart-wrenching. I caught myself tearing up on more than one occasion. A truly tragic and beautiful story about young lovers.

1) The author reused a couple of phrases and words and I felt like the book would have benefited if she had branched out from this especially a book this small. She uses the expression "the former and the ladder" seven times; "ball of twine" nine times, "bite the bullet" a couple times; and the word "guffaw" four times.

If this had been a longer book maybe I wouldn't have noticed but especially Jonach's symbolic phrase "ball of twine" that is introduced from the beginning of the book, I felt that the author really wanted to drive this piece of imagery into the reader's head and I don't think it's necessary.

2) It could be that I'm just slow but I had a hard time following the theories that explained the changes in Lillie. I don't want to go into too much detail because the plot is so unique that I don't want to spoil it but I felt that the author could have helped us readers more by writing more physical encounters with the sci-fi elements in this book to bring further understanding.

3) I kept waiting for an action scene that would amp up the climax of this plot. I know that the author tried to keep her sci-fi elements ordinary for them to be real but I just kept waiting for that little bit of extra umpf that would make me go crazy with worry and adrenaline.

1) I quoted earlier of this first section in the book, where someone's tone is described as "what-the-fuck." Call it the outsider teenager in me but I love it when a Queen Bee/Homecoming Queen is put into her place.

2) Jackson and Tom's fight. I'll only give a small snippet of it but the entire scene from Jackson's action of peer pressure was great. Here is the quote:

"'Lillie! Are you OK?' It was Tom. His voice is hoarse, like someone has their hands around his throat.

I  nod, thankful my hair provides a curtain on either side of my face. 

I hear a sudden scuffle and realize it's the sound of Jackson being pulled from his seat.

"What the fuck were you thinking? Tom shouts. "You could have killed her!"

I turn to see Tom pushing Jackson to the ground and following through with his fist. Once. Twice. The swings cut through the air and connect with well-practiced precision. 

3) "We're surrounded by lilies; tiger lilies, oriental lilies, asiatic lilies. They sprout from pots at our feet or hang in baskets above our heads and I realize we were in a greenhouse. 

I follow Tom to the edge of a small pond. It's also filled with lilies--water lilies. The sunlight filters through the glass walls and ceiling, making the surface of the pond sparkle. 

I watch a goldfish swim lazily between the lily pads, as Tom sits on the concrete wall that circles the pond. He dips a hand into the dazzling water and splashes me, making me squeal. He laughs as I splash him back and as he does, I know this a dream. Tom laughing? As if. 

I'm scooping up another handful of water when he grabs my arms and pulls me towards him. My heart flutters as I lean in for a kiss and at that moment, I wake."


  1. I found this blog through the authors website, I love how descriptive your reviews are so keep it up!!