Ms. Julia Baker, CVC Book Critic
Title: 23 Minutes
Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Genre: Science Fiction
Overall Rating: 6/10
Zoe, the main character of 23 Minutes is a loner living in a group home and hating life. She, like most characters in YA novels, has a secret. Hers is that she can time travel, but only back 23 minutes at a time (hence the title), and she can only do it a limited number of times. When she witnesses a bank robbery ending in death, she decides to be a hero and try to save the day.
Reason For Rating:
Although this story is thrilling, (full of danger, time travel, a bit of awkward romance and lots of action) there’s almost no backstory or character development. Zoe is witty and sarcastic, but lacks a purpose. I’ll give the author credit: the story centers on 23 minutes, a pretty short time to show what a character is made of.
But even so, without details Zoe seems bland and boring. Case in point: As I was writing this I couldn’t even remember her name, even though I had finished the book the week before!
Although the details didn’t match my expectations, overall the book was a good read. The amount of action was satisfying, as well as the conclusion. I liked the quick way it was written: in snippets like a collection of short stories rather than a book. It kept me on the hooked, and I read it front to back with no pauses – all in one sitting.
As well as having a less than standard format, this book has been proclaimed “One of the best YA books of 2017,” by websites such as Goodreads and BuzzFeed.
Overall, I’d recommend this book if you’re into action and a unique formatting, but if you need a strong backstory and character development than, this book might not be for you.