Review: I’ll Stop the World by Lauren Thoman

I'll Stop the World by Lauren Thoman cover shows a person's silhouetted reflection in the surface of water with raindrops falling across the image.

I’ll Stop the World
Lauren Thoman
Mindy’s Book Studio
Published April 1, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About I’ll Stop the World

The end and the beginning become one in a heart-pounding coming-of-age mystery about the power of friendship, fate, and inexplicable second chances.

Is it the right place at the wrong time? Or the wrong place at the right time?

Trapped in a dead-end town, Justin Warren has had his life defined by the suspicious deaths of his grandparents. The unsolved crime happened long before Justin was born, but the ripple effects are still felt after thirty-eight years. Justin always knew he wouldn’t have much of a future. He just never imagined that his life might take him backward.

In a cosmic twist of fate, Justin’s choices send him crashing into the path of determined optimist Rose Yin. Justin and Rose live in the same town and attend the same school, but have never met―because Rose lives in 1985. Justin won’t be born for another twenty years. And his grandparents are still alive―for now.

In a series of events that reverberate through multiple lifetimes, Justin and Rose have a week to get Justin unstuck in time and put each of them in control of their futures―by solving a murder that hasn’t even happened yet.

CW: I’LL STOP THE WORLD contains depictions of emotional abuse, alcoholism and excessive drinking, underage drinking, smoking, racism, discussions of homophobia, and violent bullying.

I'll Stop the World on Goodreads

My Review

I picked up this book for its Back to the Future vibes, and definitely found myself intrigued by the premise. I’ve enjoyed other books set in the 1980s and even another 1980s time-travel one called SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND. (Another book title that gets a song stuck in my head.)

What I Expected

I thought from the back cover copy that this book would be a romance with scenes alternating between the points of view of Rose and Justin. And the book does have a lot of scenes from their perspectives. There’s obviously some attraction between them, but the story never really centers a romance between the two of them.

I liked that the time-travel component does have a puzzle to it, and it’s not easy for Rose and Justin to solve. It’s a scavenger hunt mystery, where they unearth clues all along the way but only realize how those clues fit together at a critical moment in the story.

Not What I Expected

One of the things I did not expect about this book, though, is the number of point-of-view characters it contains. There are at least seven different characters with scenes from their points of view. Some only have a few scenes, but others, like Rose’s sister, appear more regularly.

There are also multiple timelines represented in the book, which makes sense since it’s a time-travel story. In the beginning, the most recent scenes chronologically were told in the present tense, while the scenes in the 1980s were told in the past tense. I expected the last scene, which returns to the present again, to be told in the present tense, so it was a little unexpected that it was in the past tense again.

I also didn’t expect a romance plot centered around Rose’s sister Lisa. I liked that the story explored what it was like for her to navigate her feelings for her friend and find the courage to speak up about her identity.


Overall, I think there’s a lot to love about this book. It’s got a diverse cast of characters and explores different kinds of relationships and complex characters. I love the 1980s time travel and 80s music vibes. I do wish that a few of the peripheral scenes from some of the minor characters had been trimmed in favor of having Rose or Justin discover information in an active way, but I still enjoyed the story with its broad cast of characters.

I'll Stop the World on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Lisa and Charlene are lesbians and in a secret romance with each other. Lisa is also Black. Rose is Asian American. References to sex, specifically that a boy and girl aren’t having it.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used somewhat frequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between two girls.

Spiritual Content
Justin inexplicably travels back in time to 1985.

Violent Content
Some scenes show a parent/guardian saying hateful or abusive things to their child. A few scenes show a group of kids bullying another child. In a couple of scenes, the kids beat up another kid. In one scene, they make a boy eat something they’ve dropped into a toilet.

Drug Content
A couple of adult characters are alcoholics. Justin drinks alcohol at a party and tries to drive himself home while intoxicated. Two adults take a drink of alcohol to celebrate something.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of I’LL STOP THE WORLD in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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