I’ll Stop the World is the debut novel by Lauren Thoman, published by Mindy’s Book Studio, the Mindy being Mindy Kaling. It’s clear from her opening note at the beginning of the book that there are twists in this book. I did get one of them because math, but I was really surprised by the second. I admit though when I know there’s a big twist in books I try not to think to hard about it because I just want to enjoy the story unfolding before me. It’s the first book in a while that I finished and then read parts of again. I am finally getting ads for books on Facebook. Finally something I will actually buy! (Although the swanky all-inclusive resorts are pretty). I saw this on an ad and it sounded interesting.
This is the story of Justin, accidentally or maybe purposefully sent back from the present day to 1985 where his grandparents are murdered in a fire. He meets Rose Yin, the stepdaughter of a woman running for Mayor. She wants to help Justin because he needs help and she seems like a helpful person. There is not as much depth given to her character as Justin’s because we also get POVs from the soon to be dead grandparents, Rose’s sister (she exists to be a lesbian character) Shawn, the sister’s popular boyfriend who seems to be hiding some anger issues. There’s also Noah, the dreamboat Rose has been friends with most of her life who she has a serious crush on.
I liked this book a lot, the dialogue between the teenagers felt real, even between a 2023 kid and a 1985 kid. There was one section between Noah and Shawn talking about their feeling which felt a little forced, but otherwise it was good. I will warn people that there’s another character’s little brother who is bullied terribly by a kid named Robbie. The descriptions are very graphic. (And not really there for any good reason.)
After Justin’s grandparents are killed in a fire, he grows up with his mother and a relative who seems to be there to keep them barely afloat. Justin’s a kid that’s been surviving his whole life, and honestly, it was pretty refreshing that when he meets Rose he suddenly doesn’t become all hearts and sunshine. He’s as cynical as ever. This book was good and the suspense made my palms sweat a little.