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.
I wasn't originally going to read this book because the blurb never really grabbed me, but after seeing it on NetGalley alongside other Strange Chemistry titles I thought 'What the heck? Let's give it a try!' because Strange Chemistry are like my favorite publisher (well, imprint) and they've released so many beyond awesome books many of which I wasn't initially sure of!
So I didn't have really high expectations for this book, which is good because this book really failed to impress me. It sounded so original and dynamic, but it actually had so few 'original' concepts in it that it seemed like a regurgitation of the typical YA book, except without the werewolf/vampire/angel supernatural bit there's the dimension travelling boy. Let's look at it step by step - we have a girl who isn't popular, this girl meets the new guy in her small town who is initially stand-offish but then all of a sudden changes his tune. New guy saves her from a near death experience and then it turns out the new guy has some pretty big secret that she accepts way too easily! You know the score, I know the score, it's tiring to have to read it over and over again.
It's not that this book had absolutely no originality at all - it definitely did! I really liked the evacuee idea and the merging idea and it was well explained, it's just that When the World Was Flat doesn't really compare to the massive amount of YA sci-fi that's being put out this year - All Our Yesterdays, Unraveling, Pivot Point, Parallel - all of these are books that I would recommend to anyone over When the World was Flat. In fact, I'd really only recommend this book when somebody is fresh to the genre and looking for a Twilight set-up with something new added to it (sorry, I made the dreaded comparison!).
I also want to bemoan the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Lillie is the girl who hasn't really had much attraction to guys but then after one look at Tom she becomes obsessed and Tom is already obsessed with Lillie from his first appearance, there is no slow burn to their relationship as they just fall for each other. Tom is initially cold but suddenly his icey heart opens up and it's like Lillie just forgets that for the first part of the book this guy has been a complete a-hole. As well as that, as soon as Tom turns up Lillie basically forgets her two best friends (if you can call them that... all the slut shaming that Lillie does!), I absolutely hate when that happens in a book. Then there is my least favorite thing in YA books - we have a male lead that looks eighteen but in actuality he is like old. He's lived a lot of lives and has got married in some of them and had kids in others.... it's just creepy guys! Plus, the fact that he has lived many lives with different Lillie's must put a lot of pressure on this Lille, this is not a healthy relationship everyone, this is not going to work.
Overall Rating: D-