Thanks to PenguinTeen for giving me a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
You know, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this book when I read then synopsis but it sounded so unique I knew wanted to read it. Well, I finished it and I have some…thoughts. Perhaps some jumbled thoughts but they exist nonetheless. 😛
Content warning: mentions of animal abuse and suicidal ideation
Author: A.S. King
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Expected release date: May 11, 2021
Genre: Young adult, scifi, contemporary
Length: 240 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Tru Beck is a teenage girl from Pennsylvania who lives in a world that has become trapped in a fold in time and space, where “real” time has stopped but humanity continues to mark artificial time based on a website called N3WCLOCK.com. Tru lives in a house that has a switch at its center. No one knows what the switch controls, but her father continually builds larger and larger boxes around the switch (Tru lives in Box #7). Tru leaves the box through a Tru-shaped hole to go to school, where she pays no attention to the new “Solution Time” curriculum. In fact, the only interesting thing that’s ever happened to Tru at school is when she discovers (on her first try) that she can throw a javelin farther than any human has ever thrown anything before in human history.”
Y’all. I am…confused. I’m totally not sure what to make of this story. That is, I get the underlying meaning and overall theme but this book was just…weird. It had a magical realism element to it, and I have to admit magical realism confuses me and I often feel dumb for not “getting it.”
Some of my major qualms with this novel involve the world-building. Okay, yes. Time has stopped and the world has to figure out how to continue without time itself to regulate us and the world. I can see how this is a reflection of the real world. Everything we do revolves around time and how we go about our day, what we do, how we love our lives. We’re so bent on doing the next thing, being the next thing, wanting to move on from the present or wanting to relive the past. Sure, this is a contemporary novel but I still vouch that contemporary novels have to have world building in them to make me feel like I’m in the novel. No, it doesn’t have to be as extensive as a fantasy or sci-fi novel but you gotta give me something.
I don’t know how I feel about Tru in general. I don’t know her well enough to come to a conclusion. Okay, she wants people to care for one another and it’s obvious that had to start internally and at home with her own family. The whole house thing is…something else, and I wondered if it affected anyone else? Surely not? And then the whole thing with Tru’s brother and that girl. Like…is this some weirdly implied pedophilia? Again, I’ll say that I am CONFUSED. What about Tru’s sister? What was the point? It’s twisted and malicious and almost ruined everyone’s life but… We don’t physically see her. Is she even real? Is she a metaphor for something? I don’t know!
What I did “get” (finally!) is the house righting itself and becoming normal again. Maybe this book is telling us that we need to communicate better, be open and honest with our families and our friends more often so the world literally doesn’t turn upside down. We don’t have the luxury of time stopping for us and giving us a chance to tell everyone how we feel, but rather we have to make time to spend with one another. I think there is some metaphorical truth here but it felt like one tangled yarn ball just trying to get there. So weird.
I don’t even know who I would recommend this book to. If you like weird, trippy things then…maybe this is for you? It’s a quick read but there are definitely some unanswered questions. Like why the hell a javelin?
***I had trouble finding other reviews to link, so if you have reviewed this book or know someone who did, please let me know and I’ll edit this post in order to link their review.***