By: Larissa | April 29, 2015 | (52) Comments

Review: In a World Just Right by Jen BrooksIn a World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, YA
Pages: 432
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.

Unfortunately I seem to be the black sheep for In a World Just Right. I had high hopes for this one after reading parallel universe stories such as Pivot Point by Kasie West and the Tempest  series by Julie Cross. However, I had found myself having many issues with In a World Just Right that quite impacted my enjoyment of the novel.

I’m quite the logical and scientific girl. I like reasons and the explanations for things. Connecting the dots and providing evidence is one of my favorite things to do.  However, I do understand that some things are best not left unsaid or that some things are truly can’t be explained given our knowledge on a subject. I also am aware that YA novels are typically fiction and therefore can be unrealistic. Nonetheless, there’s only so much I can suspend my disbelief. In a World Just Right is based around the fact that Jonathan, the main character, can create other worlds (parallel universes) by just blinking his eyes shut. He got this power from a tragic accident aaaaand….yeah. That’s literally all of the information we are given throughout this 432 page story regarding Jonathan’s abilities. I felt this lack of information led to me questioning a lot of the stories events and led to poor world building (hah) overall. I can understand this lack of information is due to Jonathan’s own ignorance but wouldn’t you, if in his position, want seek some form of an answer of why you suddenly have this magical ability?

Jonathon doesn’t seek answers. Nope. All due to the fact that basically his entire motivations are revolved around his one and only problem for the course of this novel: Kylie, the love interest (who should Jonathan date?! A girl he made up or that same girl in reality. Oh the humanity). Let it sink in for a moment that Jonathon has created a whole other world where he’s dating this one girl. In then in the “real” world he continues to pine for said girl and even tries to go after her. Quite frankly I found his relationship(s??? I don’t even know how to classify this as he’s basically in a love triangle with the same person) with Kylie to be disturbing and creepy.

I wonder why that intimate moment would be less creepy than the rest of the time instead of more. Does this mean she could really love me for real?

It’s always fun when Jonathon recognizes his own creepiness and than goes onto wondering if Kylie could love him for real. I couldn’t get on board with Jonathan and Kylie’s relationship let alone connect with it. I found it to promote an entirely obsessive form of love, which of course isn’t healthy in any way. Jonathan couldn’t seemingly couldn’t get the girl in the real world so why not just make this perfect fantasy world where she looveeeess him. Whenever Jonathan’s upset he just runs off to this alternate version of Kylie to hook up with. Time passes and wow, now there he is in the real world staring longingly at the  real version of Kylie who HAS NO CLUE THAT JONATHAN WAS MAKING OUT WITH SOMEBODY WHO IS BASICALLY HER LAST NIGHT. It was honestly so uncomfortable to read but there was no escape from it since this novel is entirely romance. You also have real world Kylie beginning to develop feelings for Jonathan… which of course is connected to the alternate version of her created true love. Yay for artificial feelings developed out of creepy manifestations!

Another thing that bothered me was how absent Jonathan’s uncle was in all of his worlds really. It was the most obvious display of “abandoned parent syndrome” in existence. It basically allowed for Jonathan to do whatever he wanted (like say ditching classes in the real world to be with the alternate Kylie) with no parental consequences. Furthermore it further exemplified the fact Jonathon had no friendships, family ties or really anything but his disturbing obsession with Kylie.

There was one saving grace in this novel and it was the ending. The ending was so explosive and contained a plot twist I didn’t see coming in the least. For me it made the story go from one star to two stars as I actually liked the twist. The ending was easily the most well executed part of the novel for me. To say it changed the previous course of the novel would be an understatement, so perhaps maybe that’s why I enjoyed it.

Unfortunately not even an impactful ending couldn’t change the rest of this 432 page novel for me. Overall, I found myself most disappointed in the world-building and the romance. However, many people are loving this one so perhaps you will too.

~Thank you Simon and Schuster for the review copy~

2 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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52 Responses to Review: In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

  1. I totally get what you mean about this book being completely unrealistic! The explanations were just really making me iffy like… That’s it??

    His relationship(s? LOL) with Kylie were definitely borderline creepy, but personally I thought it made sense that he would do that? I don’t know–personally I can imagine teens doing this if they had Jonathan’s “power.”

    YES TO THE UNCLE. Like how the heck do you not notice when your nephew is IN A DIFFERENT WORLD? Dude, you have issues.

    That ending, yep yep yep. I was pretty much cursing the whole time, because I never saw it coming. xD

    Fantastic review, Larissa! Sorry you didn’t like this one as much as I did. Heh.
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #11: UprootedMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah I know! Honestly, I’d be fine with things being a little open ended as long as there’s some semblance of reason.

      They were creepy. I get that teens would make another world were they could be with their crush. What I don’t condone is THE ACTUAL GOING AFTER SAID GIRL IN THE REAL WORLD. It’s like manipulation almost, using aspects you’ve learned from one girl on the other and ugh.

      YEAH LIKE???? The only time we even saw the uncle was at the end of the story. So weird. LOL the uncle would have to be the worst uncle in the world not to notice Jonathon in another fucking world.

      RIGHT!??!?! The ending was so good and well done ahhh. Best part easily.

      Thanks girl <33

  2. You know what, I just read Dissonance and it blow by blow sounds like the problems I had with that book. Why does all books about alternate realities need to be about romance, why can’t it be about anything else? WHY WOULDN’T HE SEEK ANSWERS? Great review though, Larissa!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke Review: Confusing Alternate RealitiesMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Oh no! I’ll definitely be staying far, far, farrrrr away from Dissonance then. I really don’t want to read another book like that. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE WOULDN’T SEEK ANY ANSWERS AT ALL. It was the biggest cop out ever.

      Thanks lovely!

  3. Great review! I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this one. I’d heard good things about this book, but apparently there are some downsides as well. I hate it when things aren’t explained. Like, WHY CAN YOU DO THIS??? Also, Can’t you use this parallel universe to like…save the world or something? Surely it would be better spent doing something important that just making out with this girl. This book is frustrating me already, and I haven’t even read it yet. However, I am very intrigued as to what the plot twist is at the end.
    Olivia @ Fluttering Pages recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #3My Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Olivia! Yeah, this one has quite a few glowing reviews hence why I guess I’m the black sheep haha. And yeah, there was so much missing information and honestly like nothing wasn’t explained. And agreed! Lol the Tempest series has the MC kinda saving the world.

      The plot twist will shock you, guaranteed.

  4. Aahw sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much as others seem to! 🙁
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…{WoW #87} Carry On by Rainbow RowellMy Profile

  5. soo sorry to hear you didn’t like this book. i am currently reading it and i am liking it but I for sure see some of the issues you have. There isn’t enough whys or hows . that can be an issue.
    I am struggling a bit with that but hope i can still enjoy the rest in end.
    I hav JennRenee recently posted…Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail CarrigerMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, it’s always disappointing to be let down by an anticipated read. I hope you end up enjoying this one more than me, but totally understand about the lack of information

  6. Cynthia says:

    It sucks that this book did not live up to the premise. When I read what it was about, it sounded really interesting. But eh, the lack of information would just be annoying.
    Cynthia recently posted…BOOK REVIEW: Undertow by Michael BuckleyMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, in theory this could have been quite a well done novel for me. However, the romance and the lack of information totally soured my experience.

  7. Oh no! I’ve seen only positive, glowing reviews up to now. I’m so iffy on alternate universe books to begin with and now I’m a tad more nervous to read this one. I will say, it’s nice to see a different view of the book than I’ve seen so far.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Another ARC GiveawayMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah welcome to my black sheep life haha. I’d say go in with an open mind, but except there not to be a lot of information and an (cough creepy cough) unconventional romance. I agree with you though, I always love seeing varying viewpoints on books (:

  8. Oh wow. I’m…confused. I’m not much of a parallel universe type of reader, but I did enjoy Pivot Point once upon a time. I don’t know, it sounds like a book that will induce headaches.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[517]: Red Queen by Victoria AveyardMy Profile

  9. Omg. WHAT. WHATWHATWHAT. I don’t think I’ll be reading this because, mostly, I have a really black-and-white mind and I can only suspend belief SO FAR. Too far and I just start throwing paper clips and being unhappy. Yus. It’s terrifying. BUT ANYWAY. The love-triangle-with-two-people-who-are-technically-the-same is very disturbing. No thank you.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Alice And The Fly // schizophrenia, bullying, and my feels hurtMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      RIGHT??!? Omg Cait, yeah especially with a very black/white mind I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one to you. And I don’t want you throwing paperclips [; And ugh yeah, the romance was one of the more creepy ones I’ve read lately for sure

  10. I’m actually so excited for this too but then I saw Aimee’s review and yours, I feel like this will just have to wait. I’m like you, if the ending was great but the journey towards it wasn’t that good? The rating will be MEH as well 😛 Thanks so much for the heads up and the amazing detailed review Larissa!! 🙂
    Paula M. @ Her Book Thoughts! recently posted…Author Takeover #001: Daniel Herborn, author of: ‘You’re The Kind of Girl I Write Songs About’ + Giveaway!!My Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah my hopes were high for this one too originally. The ending was quite impactful, but I totally feel like with 432 pages the last 20 doesn’t make up for it. No problem and thank you Paula <33

  11. I haven’t read any other review of In a World Just Right so maybe it’s that or jus because I feel like I would completely agree with you on all the flaws in this story. I’m not as logical and I don’t need explanations to things, but the no explanation of his ability is kind of ridiculous. I wonder if there is a society or something with powers or police for creating different worlds or maybe it’s all in his head because of his accident. If there was no answer in the end I would be as frustrated too.

    I’m curious if this was based on a girl creating a world where she got the guy – would I feel like they were weird also?

    Thanks for the review – got me thinking (:
    Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind recently posted…All the Bright Places by Jennifer NivenMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah haha! Check out Aimee’s review if you want a more positive one. Honestly, I would have been okay with just SOME explanation you know. None at all just drove me completely nuts. Great thoughts girl! Too bad none of those ideas are explored in the novel.

      I think I’d find them weird too. Idk, it’s the fact that Jonathon pursued the girl in the world after being already romantically involved with the alternate version of the same girl that threw me over the edge.

      Thanks girl <33

  12. Kelly says:

    I dare say, the lack of explanation would irk me to no end. Like yourself Larissa, you know it’s completely fictional, but come on, there’s no curiosity on the characters part to find out why he can create these worlds? Sounds like it wasn’t explored because it might have been too intricate and needed too much detail and maybe beyond the books boundaries. Sad really, this one could have been pretty good, but it sounds like it snowballed from there. Wonderful review poppet and hopefully you enjoy your next read so much more <3
    Kelly recently posted…Just A Queen by Jane CaroMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      YES omfg, it definitely did that to me. I literally was asking “why?” “how?” so many times throughout the novel. And yeah, honestly the fact it wasn’t explored AT ALL does feel like a cop out. Even if it was touched on I’d be happy- like Pivot Point. Or in The Tempest series it was explained so well c:

      Yeah, with no explanations and a creepy romance I did find myself quite annoyed more often than not.

      Thanks girl! <33

  13. Gabs says:

    Sorry you didn’t like this one Larissa. 🙁 I don’t blame you, this sound reaaallly creepy. I’ve heard some good things about this one but your review has me rethinking things. I don’t think I could be comfortable with this romance!
    Gabs recently posted…Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel HawkinsMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah it really is quite unfortunate, I was looking forward to this one 🙁 But yeah, this one definitely veered far into creepy territory for me. The romance was honestly my least favorite element of the book, which is a shame since it’s so focused on throughout

  14. Melanie says:

    Oh my gawd yeah I think I’ll just pass on this one, ahah. The romance seems just really messed up. He’s got multiple love interests, but they’re just the same person… whaaaaaat?

    Lovely review, Larissa <33

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah probably a good idea honestly. The romance was SOOOO messed up omfg. And yeah… the love interest(s) aspect was something I wasn’t a fan of.

      Thanks boo <33

  15. Great review, girl. This romance would make me soooo uncomfortable, which is why I’m not gonna read the book. :/ I’m iffy on parallel universe stories anyway, but the whole plot just sounds icky.
    Thank you for your honest review!

    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Danielle! <33 And yeah, the romance made me feel so icky. It didn't work for me at all. And no prob girl, thanks for the sweet comment (:

  16. Stories about parallel universes are tricky. I enjoy them when they are written nicely, but they can annoy me if author does not pay attention to details. I am sorry to hear that this novel belongs to second group :/ It is always sad when amazing blurb and idea is wasted. Great review!
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…TWO QUICK REVIEWS: Teacher/Student RomanceMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah they are! I’ve read some that are OMFG TOTALLY AMAZING but others that are pretty meh. And yeah, details can totally make or break a story. Thank you Lucia <33

  17. This is my first encounter with this novel, and It sounds like a disappointment. I like details and explanations as well and I would have a hard time with the lack of that in this one. Not to mention the creepiness and the absent parent syndrome. I will pass. Thanks for the helpful review.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Friday Forecast May 3rd-9thMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah unfortunately it was definitely a disappointment for me. If you’re like me than yeah, the lack of details will drive you up the wall. AND YES OMFG CAN’T GET OVER THE CREEPINESS. No prob Heidi <33

  18. Ksenia says:

    Great review, Larissa! Sorry you didn’t enjoy it. I understand your disappointment. In books about parallel universe I want to have some (probably not very complex and scientific) explanation. Love triangle with the same person? Weird.
    Ksenia recently posted…Review: The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle KennedyMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Thank you chicka! <33 And yeah, this one was certainly a disappointment for me. I would honestly be alright with ANY description but nahhh. This whole novel lacked even that. And yeah, defs weird.

  19. Lily says:

    As interested as I was in this one when I first heard about it, I feel like the lack of answers and even QUESTION ASKING would drive me nuts. I’m a logical girl and i’m one of those readers who need answers to my ‘WHYS?’ eight out of ten times. It’s a shame this one didn’t work for you Larissa! I hope you’re next read does!
    Lily recently posted…The Summer After You and Me: ReviewMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      YEAH HONESTLY THERE WAS ZERO QUESTIONING AND ????? that had me questioning the book haha. I don’t think you’d enjoy this one if you’re anything like my logical self.

  20. Benish says:

    Hmm, I do love the concept of this novel, although I do agree it does sound a bit unrealistic. I’m the same as well, I would need explanations of why the things happened. Hope your next book is a hit for you though 🙂
    Benish recently posted…ARC Review: ♥ Crimson Bound by Rosamund HodgeMy Profile

  21. You know me Larissa – my inner Virgo demands explanation and logic, so I don’t think this one would go well with me either, unfortunately, from what you’ve said here. 🙁

    I find it extremely irritating and unrealistic when a main character somehow has a “special power”, and the way that power originated in the first place is never touched upon. Much less how that special power is even possible scientifically. 😐

    Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous and thorough review. Sorry this was a bit of a miss – but I 1000% see where you’re coming from. <3
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Vanishing GirlsMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, knowing you and your tastes I can’t recommend to this one for you haha. You’re like me in terms of liking logic.

      YES. It makes no sense. Every good origin story needs at least a backstory, and if the MC doesn’t know the source of their power?? THEY SEARCH FOR ANSWERS.

      Thank Zoe <33

  22. Missie says:

    Ugh, it just sounds so out of control. Sounds like if I want to read it, the end is the only part worth reading!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
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  23. Valerie says:

    Ahhh nooooo. Actually the lack of a reason for having this “ability” is saddening, because I also thought this would be something similar to Parallel or Pivot Point. BUT IT SUCKS that all Jon cares about is that ONE GIRL. And it is very creepy that all his alternate worlds focus on her 😛
    Valerie recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #26My Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah right!? It’s so disappointing. Pivot Point at least had some form of world building. This one has got zip. AND YES IT’S SO FUCKING CREEPY VAL OH MY GOD I DON’T KNOW HOW PEOPLE ARE SHIPPING JON AND THE LOVE INTEREST

  24. Lyn Kaye says:

    Meh, this sounds JUST LIKE Dissonance. Seriously, like, some of the same things happen. At least there is an explanation for the AUs in that book.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Nest N’ News: April Wrap UpMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I haven’t read Dissonance, but if it’s anything like In a World Just Right?? Yeah, I’m not overly interested in checking it out hah.

  25. Johanna Richards says:

    Oh geez, this MC seems like an idiot. I mean, surely you’d wanna seek some answers to everything that’s going on around him. And the romance? Nope, definitely not my thing. Thanks for the review, Larissa! 🙂

    • Larissa says:

      Hahaha right!? Like seriously can you question even a bit why you suddenly got these super cool powers?? The romance was one of the worst I’ve read recently. Thanks for the lovely comment girl.

  26. Romi says:

    Okay, so I feel similarly strange about this romance. The fact the protagonist is going to these other worlds and get still considers one to be “real”, that he needs to be dating the girl in the “real” world… that made me falter a little. I actually don’t know how to describe my thoughts on this, so I’ll muddle along with hopefully not too much difficulty- he’s just using these other worlds, that are better for him than the one he was born into, as a kind of respite, apparently, but I wonder why he doesn’t just stay in one and have the perfect life he wants, have the girl? I don’t actually agree with the whole idea of creating things to love you (it’s like the Ruby Sparks thing), but from the brief amount I know about this character, I’d have thought he’d do that. But obsessive romances are not healthy and one sounds really unsettling. I don’t think it’s the book for me.
    Hope your next read is more suited to you, Larissa! Lovely review. Xx
    Romi recently posted…Angus, Thongs by Louise Rennison- a series review. OOH AAH.My Profile

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