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into the dimWhat: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Who: HMH Books for Young Readers

When: March 1st 2016

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for review via Edelweiss.

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

why i did not finish into the dim

Ugh. I was so excited for Into the Dim. I mean, my mum is OBSESSED with the Outlander books, has been since I was five, and when I saw that Into the Dim was being marketed as the teen’s version of Outlander, I jumped on it.

And was thoroughly disappointed. I got to 24% of Into the Dim, and I couldn’t keep going. And here are my reasons why:

1) Hope. This main character is, in one word: insufferable. She is the most special of all the special snowflakes in the world. She’s just so smart, and instead of liking singers or actors when she was a kid she liked scientists, and she doesn’t kiss boys, and she isn’t pretty, and the family needs her. I cannot STAND characters that are just so ~unique~, but also don’t realise it so when their ~uniqueness~ is revealed they’re all shocked. Please. Just stop with this trope already. Everyone is unique because *GASP* every person on earth is different from the other.

2) The slut-shaming. Hope meets a beautiful boy with heterochromatic eyes, and he mistakes her for a girl he hooked up with at some school. To which Hope replies, “But then again, I’m not one of those slutty St. Sebastian girls.” OHMYGOD, YOU’RE SO FUCKING SPECIAL. I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU DON’T KISS BOYS OR HAVE SEX WITH BOYS AND ENJOY IT AND THEREFORE ARE NOT A SLUT. THANK GOODNESS YOU AREN’T BECAUSE OWNING YOUR SEXUALITY IS A SIN, OBVIOUSLY. BECAUSE GUYS CAN LIKE SEX AND PHYSICAL CONTACT BUT GOD FORBID IF A GIRL DOES. GOOD ON YOU FOR MAKING THAT CLEAR, HOPE. I HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT FOR YOU NOW.

Slut-shaming needs to get the fuck out of YA. And any genre. And life in general.

You could easily say things went downhill from that moment onwards for me.

3) The plot. By 24% there had been no time travel, and for the previous 4% there had been a massive info-dump of half-assed explanations of how the family found the time travelling whatever underneath their house. There was no plot in what I read is what I’m saying here.

4) The characters. I’m all for reading about spineless dads if they’re there for a reason, but shipping your daughter off to Scotland days after her mother’s funeral? Just no.

And everyone that Hope met in Scotland was so … cringe-worthy. We have the dottery grandmother and grandfather types who coddle her after knowing her for a day. We have the blue haired grinning orphan who will probably die in the series at some point because happy and cute characters are usually there to remind the main character of what life can be like, if only you let the light in.

There was the ~cool~ and ~mysterious~ aunt, who was really just annoying because she wouldn’t answer any of the freaking questions. There was the beautiful blue and green eyed boy who will no doubt turn out being from the EVIL time travelling group. Romeo and Juliet forbidden love from opposing families: begin.

Then there’s the other orphan child who seems to care a lot about his family but not at all about Hope who will obviously turn around during the progression of the book and likely become a love interest who is really warm hearted under that asshole exterior. And then there’s the computer geek who is so BIG but is actually really SWEET.

5) The writing style. All tell, no show.


All in all, I really wanted to love Into the Dim, but was ultimately disappointed.

© 2016, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warnings: familial bullying, abduction –  please keep in mind that as i did not finish this book, i don’t have a comprehensive list of trigger warnings

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Posted on: March 1, 2016 • By: Chiara

19 Responses to Why I DNF(d) Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

  1. Yet another time travel book absolutely tanks. That makes three this year, I believe. Why can’t anyone write time-travel? Sure, I played it pretty loose with Bureau of Time (time remains a little more fixed, and it’s parallel universes instead of a single time continuum), but it seems like everyone else attempting anything remotely time-based this year has missed the mark by a mile.

    Thanks for the entertaining and honest review Chiara. It’s interesting to watch this genre…struggle.



    I will be back here once I get to 24% of the book. Which I hope to start soon. So yeah, I will be back.

  3. Hannah M says:

    Oh man, this makes me really sad as Into The Dim was one of my most anticipated books for this year! This is not good. Like Brett said – what’s with time travel books this year? I was so excited but they’ve all fallen flat.

    I think time travel needs to be shaken up a bit – move the historical into the future. Now that would be interesting, I think!

    • Chiara says:

      Me, too! I had been so keen to read it for such a long time, so it was super disappointing that it wasn’t for me at all. I’ve no idea, but it seems like they’re not bringing in many positive reviews :/

      That would be awesome! I don’t know why time travel books have such a focus on the past. I’d love to read about the future!

  4. Tasya says:

    Oh wow I’m sorry this book doesn’t work for you! The main reason why i really want to read this book is also because it was marketed as “The YA Outlander”. I read Outlander in January and find it too mature for me, so that’s why I really want to read this! But it seems like this book is so different from Outlander in terms of characters and plot… Claire is just such a strong woman and Hope seems… annoying and childish. Thanks for sharing anyways! :D

    • Chiara says:

      Me, too! I haven’t tried to read Outlander, because the books are so big and the series isn’t even finished yet (!), so I was so excited for this. But from what I know of Outlander, I don’t think that Into the Dim has any similarities, really. Except for the time travel aspect, and even then that aspect is different :/ No problem, Tasya!

  5. Annika says:

    Thanks for the review! That makes me so sad. Especially the slut shaming. I feel so strongly about YA – and the need for good YA fiction.. Slut-shaming is something that definitely needs to just get OUT.
    I’m about to start the Syndicate by Sophie Davis and now I’m a bit hesitant about the time travel aspect. Maybe I should just go and finally read Outlander.

    • Chiara says:

      No problem! I definitely agree that slut-shaming needs to get out of every book, especially YA, when the target audience often looks for cues for how to feel about themselves.

      Oh, I haven’t heard of that one, but I hope you like it! Haha, I am thinking the exact same thing.

  6. rebecca @ Reading Wishes says:

    When I saw your DNF on Goodreads, I decided to not to add it. It sounds like it could have been great, but it’s such a shame it ended up being a flop. The “special snowflake” and slut-shaming sounds so tiring and frustrating, even just from reading your review :( Hopefully there’s a time travel book on the horizon that gets it right. Amazing review, lovely!

    • Chiara says:

      I can’t say that you’d be missing out on anything, lovely! And yes, those two aspects were probably the worst for me :/ I know! I really want one to fall in love with again. It’s been so long. Thank you, my dear <3

  7. I didn’t really know much about this one, but that’s a bummer it fell so flat in many ways! The slut shaming really really needs to leave literature, especially YA because it’s just teaching younger readers that it’s okay to do this and with a character like Hope, it also says that not being okay with your sexuality is also the only way to be. Just because someone kisses boys or has sex doesn’t mean they are a bad person. Ugh. Annoying, I agree.


    • Chiara says:

      It definitely is! Especially given how excited I was, haha. Oh yes, it really needs to leave and I’ve no idea why editors are still letting it into books. It’s a terrible notion to be passing to the YA audience, for so many reasons.

  8. From the moment I read the first sentence of the blurb – “fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope” – I knew the MC would be one of those Specialest of Special Snowflakes. Ugh, this book seems just cringeworthy – which is incredibly sad, considering how excited you were for it. :( Here’s to better readerly endeavours on the horizon <3

  9. Valerie says:

    I AM BACK.

    I finished Into the Dim, it wasn’t THAT bad for me, but it also didn’t meet my expectations AT ALL :P And you were totally right about the the “love interest” being evil.

    And yeah, Hope was just bleh to me. The plot definitely picked up like…50% in (which is a long long time), and even then I just kept thinking “How is Hope going to get into trouble now?” And she does but doesn’t at the same time. Also is it just me, but do I just keep imagining Collum as a middle aged man? Nope.

    THAT’S ALL FROM ME NOW. I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU SAID. I think you were right about the DNF. This whole book for me was just meh

    • Chiara says:

      Ohmygod, I new I would be write. *cringes*

      FIFTY PERCENT? That is WAY too long for a plot to start to pick up for me D: And ohmygosh, yes. I kept on imagining him as someone older, as well! I think it might have been that original description? I thought he was thirty.

      I feel very comfortable in my DNF of this book now. Sorry it wasn’t better for you!

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