I'll Stop the World

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I'll Stop the World
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
April 01, 2023
ISBN
978-1662509971
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“Lauren Thoman’s I’ll Stop the World is a whip-smart mystery with a vibrant cast of characters that gives off great eighties vibes. I was absolutely dazzled by this unputdownable genre-bending novel that’s equal parts coming-of-age suspense and emotional tale of forgiveness and second chances.” ―Mindy Kaling
The end and the beginning become one in a heart-pounding coming-of-age mystery about the power of friendship, fate, and inexplicable second chances.
Is it the right place at the wrong time? Or the wrong place at the right time?

Trapped in a dead-end town, Justin Warren has had his life defined by the suspicious deaths of his grandparents. The unsolved crime happened long before Justin was born, but the ripple effects are still felt after thirty-eight years. Justin always knew he wouldn’t have much of a future. He just never imagined that his life might take him backward.

In a cosmic twist of fate, Justin’s choices send him crashing into the path of determined optimist Rose Yin. Justin and Rose live in the same town and attend the same school, but have never met―because Rose lives in 1985. Justin won’t be born for another twenty years. And his grandparents are still alive―for now.

In a series of events that reverberate through multiple lifetimes, Justin and Rose have a week to get Justin unstuck in time and put each of them in control of their futures―by solving a murder that hasn’t even happened yet.

Editor review

1 review
Teen Timetravels to 1985
(Updated: May 29, 2023)
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
I’LL STOP THE WORLD by Lauren Thoman is a YA Time Travel novel split between present day and 1985. Justin, a high school senior, doesn’t have much direction in his life, until he finds himself decades in the past, the week before his grandparents die in a fire. Without much family in present day, other than his alcoholic mother and Stan, a peculiar relative, getting to know his grandparents, who are the image of a loving family, makes it painful to imagine what could have been. Justin now feels extra pressure to somehow help thwart history, not only for his family’s benefit but also because he believes that successfully altering the timeline could be his ticket back to his previous life. Blending into the 80s without being suspicious is difficult for him. However, with the help of Rose Yin, the young girl who first finds Justin, they may just pull it all off.

What is successful about this book is how elaborately and skillfully it’s been plotted. The way Thoman first plants a seed and then weaves the thread throughout the story is so smart, as everything ties into one another and makes sense in the end. I love all the surprising “ah-ha” moments I had, realizing “OH! That’s why that happened!” There are also several plot twists I didn’t see coming, which is always exciting.

That being said, this novel would have truly flown off the shelf for me if the pacing had been a bit quicker, particularly for this genre. The book starts off slowly with a lot of exposition— some of which is crucial, but we still could’ve gotten into the action faster. It takes over one hundred pages before Justin finally time travels and gets started on his journey. After that, there are a lot of repetitive items the cast of characters mull over that could’ve been trimmed to allow for speed and clarity of story. Also, in regards to characters, because we get so many POVs, I lost a bit of connection to them all. I love all the different stories that Thoman squeezed into this book, but perhaps cutting down the characters to those only relevant to Justin’s task would’ve given more space to get attached to those remaining.

Overall though, I’LL STOP THE WORLD is a great book if you’re looking for some entertainment, nostalgia, and a bit of teenage existential dread.
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