(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“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.”
This is definitely one of the more unusual love stories that I’ve ever read. The difference comes not in the connection between the two main characters—that is something that you can find in tons of teen paranormal romance—but in the explanation for the connection. It takes a twist that I really didn’t expect. And that’s good, because I’ve read enough that not much surprises me anymore.
Unfortunately, the way the twist plays out didn’t quite work for me. The logic behind it felt a bit contrived, or possibly forced. It’s like the author had this interesting idea and had to really stretch things to make it work out the way she wanted. It’s hard to explain how I feel about this part of the story without blowing the secret for everyone else reading it. Suffice it to say, I think that Jonach conveniently glossed over some things to make her idea fit her tale, and it doesn’t do the book any favors.
In general, I felt that the pacing was off. The story started out interesting, with Lillie experiencing nightmares of dying and odd moments of déjà vu. But that’s about all that happens for a good chunk of the book, and while initially it’s a good plot hook, it doesn’t go anywhere quickly enough to be the support for the majority of the novel.
I did like the characters, and I thought that Jonach did a great job with Lillie and her reactions to her increasingly weird situation. I’m not entirely sure that I bought the connection between Lillie and Tom, not because of the twist, but because Tom’s standoffishness put a serious damper on their getting closer. I was more entertained watching Lillie’s reactions to him at this point than by their love story.
The other thing I liked was the language. The author’s prose is lovely to read and I found myself sucked into the novel just on the strength of her writing style. In fact, that’s what kept me going through a lot of the book when the plot wasn’t progressing all that much. I enjoyed the way Jonach described things and how she had Lillie expressing herself. I’d love to see what she’d do with a love story that doesn’t have this hot-and-cold dynamic.
While I wasn’t enamored with the plot, When the World Was Flat (And We Were In Love) had some qualities that made me want to keep reading. And admittedly, the plot twist may work better for some readers, so this would still be a novel that I’d recommend to teens looking for something beyond the same old tired romances that clog the shelves.