Author: Cristin Bishara
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Wow. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed a YA/youth book as much as this one, but it has definitely been a while. I received an ARC galley from the publisher, and typically when I get a galley to read it is hard to get through. For one, a majority of the books I get ARCs of are not very good. Having to read it on my tablet as opposed to my Kindle ereader or a trusty hardcover book usually takes me much longer to read as well. But I could not seem to put this book down.
For one thing, this book involves string theory and a multi-universe view of the world, which is refreshing over some of the time travel books I have read recently which I find a lot harder to swallow as there is no scientific evidence behind the possibility. Parallel universes, however, is something that physics have been pushing for a while now and something I can wrap my head around and partake in. The fact of a wormhole existing in the middle of this grand tree with an electric door handle is a little more difficult to believe in, but this is a children's novel after all, not a Michael Crichton adventure. Kudos to Bishara for making science interesting to kids at all these days.
Then we get to the plot of the story. When Ruby discovers the multi universes, she realizes her mother might still be alive in one of the other universes she can visit. If you have a chance of getting to a parallel dimension where a loved one you have lost is still alive, who wouldn't want to take the chance to see them again? The loss and emotions that Ruby deals with in this book are things I think everyone can relate to at least once in their lifetime. And while she isn't a perfectly sculpted character, we expect her to be flawed as she is but human.
The romance in this book isn't in your face and over the top, and I am truly grateful for that. If anything, it is a young love based on friendship relationship, which is often lacking in YA novels these days where the girl falls for the first guys she meets at first sight.
I enjoyed the ending as well. It is not the happily ever after perfect ending most authors would be willing to throw at you, but it is true to life and I still find it a happy (enough) ending. Ruby learns some valuable lessons during her adventures, and learns to appreciate the life she has and not take it for granted, even if it isn't the perfect life she is searching for.
This book does have a few unexplained plot holes (for instance, what happens to the original Rubys in the parallel universes she visits that suddenly disappear? And why doesn't the red-headed Irish described one disappear when she shows up in the one parallel world?). All and all, though, a very good YA/youth novel. Finally, a book I would be happy to recommend to others.