GOODREADS SUMMARY | Strange Chemistry | Hardcover,
272 pages | September 3rd, 2013 | Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
This book started out fantastically. For the most part, I was able to forgive the heroine’s annoying quirks (until I couldn’t), and the book’s seemingly lack of desire to stand out. The author also tried to explain the dynamics in relatively simple terms. However, the deeper we delve into parallel universe and multiple dimensions, the more confused I’ve become. And just like that, the book fell apart like a leaning tower of Jenga blocks.
Will the real Lillie Hart please stand up?
Really unfortunate considering this is one of those books that had me in its grips 75% of the time. But once the explanations of how many versions of themselves had lived and died, and which versions of themselves are actually in the present, it was buh-bye rapt attention. Because they’ve lived numerous dimensions already, it was really hard to figure out each characters’ real personalities. It became vague, convoluted and just plain muddy.
It was hard to reconcile the generally immature Lillie Hart to the Lillie Hart that Tom had fallen in love with. This one is just way too obsessed with a boy who avoids her like she carries the black plague.
And the general confusion doesn’t end with the unhappy couple. It always irks me when a character treats another like the scum of the earth because he or she was doing it for their own good. After a few push and pull from Tom, it had become increasingly annoying.
There was a lot of allusion to the evil “evacuees”, but not enough evidence that they were, in fact, the villains in the story. Other than the fact that “evacuees” are meant to kill the original sliders, none of them really made an attempt.
This is not Science Fiction.
In this book’s defence, it was not really marketed as YA Sci-Fi. I mean, the title alone tells you that it had to be romance, right? And yet the focal point of the story really is about Tom and Lillie’s connection. The readers will get tiny crumbs throughout the story, and it will drive you nuts. Too many dreams of dying, deja vu, and insinuations of how they’re connected, but the author doesn’t reveal the core of the plot until near the end. So if you’re going into this in the hopes that it will satiate your taste for parallel worlds, you might be a bit disappointed. However, most YA readers would enjoy the romance.
The following over used tropes can be found in this novel:
- Copious amounts of slut shaming.
- Small town girl whose self-confidence can fit into a thimble.
- Said small town girl pines for mysterious, rich, unattainable English boy.
- Cliques, and Mean Girls mentality.
- Absence of parental units.
- Secrets. Lots and lots of secrets.
When the World was Flat has an interesting premise, but the Sci-fi elements were abysmal. It spent too much time showcasing the push and pull relationship between Lillie and Tom and not enough effort in explaining the dynamics of “sliding” and parallel dimensions. The result was a convoluted story arch that had become dangerously close to becoming inconsequential.