23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde book review Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads
Title: 23 Minutes
Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Genre: Young Adult
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret ability: she can travel back in time twenty-three minutes to relive events she wants to change. But Zoe has learned from experience that this is more curse than gift. Things almost never end well and people just tend to think she’s crazy.

But when she steps into a bank to get out of the rain and finds herself in the middle of a robbery gone horrifyingly wrong, Zoe knows she’s the only one who can help. The problem is, she has only a limited number of tries to make things right. Plus, a single mistake could get her killed—and not even time travel could bring her back from that.

Zoe has always considered herself a loser, about as far from a heroine as a girl can get. Now she has to dig deep to find a strength she never thought she possessed.

My Review:

I decided to buy this book the moment I picked it up and read the summary. I thought it sounded interesting, different from the other books out there.

Then I read the first two or so chapters and thought to myself, “Well, this book isn’t as good as I thought it would be…” Seriously, there’s no point to the first chapter.

But I kept reading anyway because I try to finish all the books I start. And I’m glad I kept reading. By the end of the book, I said to myself, “Wow, this book is much better than I thought it would be.”

The story relives the same 23 minutes over and over again for 176 pages. I wasn’t sure how the author was to pull that off without it getting too repetitive and boring, but it worked very well.

Each time Zoe, the protagonist, went back in time I was always intrigued about how things would turn out differently. To me, I found this book to have a deeper meaning as to be careful of your choices, always make the right ones, and that one choice can affect everything else.

The book was well written. The story flowed nicely, even with the story jumping backwards every chapter. The plot as a well was well thought out and unique.

My only problem was with Zoe. She’s 15, but she acted much older than that as though she was about 18 or 19. There were a lot of references to her age and it made sense for her to be 15. But personality wise… she was older.

The other thing that bothered me about her was David, the main male. He was 24 and they developed an appropriate brother-sister relationship as the story went on, but pretty much every time Zoe saw him, she had to comment on his dreamy eyes and beautiful hair, etc, etc. It got old pretty fast.

Overall, this was a great read and I would recommend it.

23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde gets 5 out of 5 stars.

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10 thoughts on “23 Minutes by Vivian Vande Velde

  1. This was a well written review. I love it when my students write their review assigned after mid-term (when we get past the argument/research paper, the “measuring stick” for Advanced Writing) and express as you did first impressions and the impression they walked away with. Few do it as effectively and graciously as you did, but they, after all, aren’t all “real” writers like you are.

  2. Intriguing concept for a book, Rachel, and I’m glad you stuck with it because there’s clearly a lesson in there for the readers. Great review.

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