Thursday, March 22, 2018

It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble-- 100 years is a long time to get good at something, right??

It Wasn't Always Like This

Emma O'Neill is a teenage private detective trying to solve the mystery of who is poisoning young girls-- girls that happen to look like her.  She doesn't need to ask why-- those answers are linked to the things that happened over 100 years ago....

You see Emma may be a teenager to look at, but she was actually frozen at 17 in the year 1916.  Back then her family, along with her boyfriend's family, were trying to find a cure for polio and accidentally stumbled onto the key to immortality.  But the local cult/church didn't take kindly to abominations like Emma and her clan, so they came after them with a vengeance, leading to death and ultimately Emma and Charlie splitting up.

Now, Emma knows The Church of Light is catching up to her--and she's determined to stop them from hurting more innocent people.  She's tracking them while they're tracking her-- who will find whom first??

I don't read a lot of books like this, so it was really entertaining for me.  I loved the idea of 100-year-old teenagers running around!!  I mean, living forever and not aging didn't seem all that great, but if you were gonna do it-- I don't think late teens would be a bad age to pick.

Hands down the best part of this book was the "love lost through time" storyline.  Emma and Charlie were soulmates separated by tragedy trying to make it back to one another without knowing if the other one was still alive.  I adored going through history with Charlie and seeing where the journey took him.  I wish there was more of that and a whole lot more of Emma's long life explained.

The thing about Emma was: She is a 100-year-old teenager, yet somehow is NOT wise.  I get that she still has 17-year-old hormones and all that, but she has 100 years of life experience!!!  She should've been way more knowledgeable and interesting than the 50-something cop she teamed up with, but that just wasn't the case.  I know she's been busy looking for Charlie & dodging the church, but you would think after 100 years she would be the bomb dot com at SOMETHING.  She was just existing.

The biggest problem with this book was the big bad guy.  It was a cult-like church that believed hunting down the "evil immortals" would somehow get them closer to Heaven-- and okay, so far so good.  But where it lost credibility was when it got passed down through generations.  At this point, The Church of Light have no idea what Charlie and Emma look like, so you have to believe that this church went around killing girls that they felt COULD be Emma based on ????  Basically, they were picking out teenage girls with brown hair who didn't have parents.  Do you know how many of those there are???  They would never find her that way.  Also, why was she going around using her real name if there are crazies after her??  Girl was not 100 years old, there's just no way.

Plausibility aside, this book was a fun read.  It's short and has a cool premise, and I just had to know if Emma and Charlie would ever find each other-- which says something because I don't like romancey stuff!!

OVERALL: A quick read that has a cool teenage immortality premise.  I loved the love lost through time & historical parts, but I wished Emma showed more of the 100-year-old soul she supposedly was living with.

Date Published: 5/17/2016
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Soho Teen

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Emma O'Neill
Book: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

  • I think Emma would like the twisty, dark mysteries.


  1. Great review! I just finished a book where the MC isn't immortal, but he ages very slowly, and it was fun to see all the things he experienced throughout history (How to Stop Time). So I would definitely be interested in Charlie's story. But it would also probably bug me that Emma hadn't learned anything in 100 years. You think she'd be pretty savvy!

    1. Oh, that sounds super interesting & historical!! I don't read a lot of Adult, but I'm going to put it on my LIST for when I decide I need a YA break!!

  2. I read this one a while back I remeber enjoying it okay but remeber nothing detailed.

    1. Yeah, I don't think it's one I'm going to remember a lot about in the long run.

  3. I hadn't heard of this one at all and I don't think it's my thing, but I'm glad you enjoyed it overall. The MC would frustrate me too much I think. XD

    1. She was a tad under-developed. She had so much potential, but it wasn't taken advantage of IMO.