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Title: In The Beginning There Was Us (Other World Collection #2)
Author: Ingrid Jonach
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
My When the World Was Flat (And We Were in Love) Review
Synopsis: What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that plague fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.
The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.
As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.
As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.
This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds.
Review: When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) was an incredible book, and when I finished it, I figured that would be it. Everything wrapped up nicely and it was very self-contained, and I was ok with that. But then! I learned that Ingrid was writing a whole collection of books set in the same world, and In The Beginning There Was Us would be the second book. So, of course, I knew I had to read this book ASAP! And I am so, so glad that I did.
In The Beginning There Was Us is completely different from When the World Was Flat - the situations are completely different, the sci-fi aspect is new and unique, and even the romance has a different tone about it. I even felt like this book was darker than its predecessor, and that there was much more going on here that could have huge consequences to the world outside. I did enjoy though that there are similarities between them, including characters, that connected them across this huge universe.
I really enjoyed how the science aspect was worked into this book. Most people today have at least heard of CERN and their Large Hadron Collider, as well as the existence and hunt for the "God particle," but Ingrid puts her own spin on these real-life things and theories and turns them into something completely unique. In this alternate history, things went wrong with the particle accelerator in Europe, and most of the continent had to be quarantined. Now, Abbey's dad is working on a particle accelerator in the US and might be doing things that are illegal on an international scale. There's not much explanation of the science and the theories until near the end of the book, but I really enjoyed how they were presented and explained. Even though I'm not a physicist, I was able to follow all of it and it at least made sense.
Aside from the science, Ingrid has this incredible way with words that just makes the characters come to life and the world seem to leap from the pages. I could see all of Abbey's paintings perfectly in my mind, and I could imagine exactly what Cole looks like just from the descriptions of him. I could also feel everything that Abbey was feeling - her excitement, her fear, her apprehension, her sadness, and her loneliness. I often found myself forgetting that Abbey is only fifteen, since she's been through so much in her lifetime that she definitely seemed and acted older.
At first, I thought that her relationship with Cole would be good for her. He really treats her well and brings her out of her shell. But then things take a turn for the worse, and Abbey can't control him anymore. Or maybe she controls him too much, which makes him resent her. The way their relationship develops and changes over the course of the book was so interesting to follow, and I found myself on the edge of my seat, frantically turning pages just to find out what was going to happen next. Cole is so unpredictable that I also was afraid for Abbey. And the whole time, I was totally rooting for her and Elwin to get together, even though he's several years older and her best friend's brother. But Elwin is incredible!
I really just loved everything about this book. Even though the ending almost made me scream out loud, because how can you leave things that way?! I kept trying to turn pages, hoping more would appear and set my mind (and heart) at ease, but Ingrid just couldn't let me have that little bit of peace!
This book is every bit as gorgeous as When the World Was Flat, and if you're looking for a YA sci-fi romance, you should really start reading these books ASAP. You could even start with In The Beginning There Was Us, since you don't need to know anything about the other book to fall into this world, but it's fun to see the things the books have in common. Even if you aren't big on the sci-fi aspect, this book tells the story of an incredible romance with its ups and downs and has complex characters that will stick with you well past the end (talk about a book hangover!). 5/5, for sure.