Wishing for everyday life to disappear and to be magically transported somewhere else does not always deliver on the promise of a happier ending. Parallel universes seem to be a popular trend these days, with quite a few books released in 2011 and 2012. For one, YA thrill-master Christopher Pike is back, veering toward fantasy with his trademark thriller plot thrown in the mix. And, in one of the most highly acclaimed books of the year, Every Day, David Levithan drops the main character into a new body, and therefore a new world, each morning. Some of the titles are serious, offering a look at how one might escape a bad home or school life. Others trend toward humor or fairy tale retellings. In all, the glimpse of “what might have been” provides readers an escape from their daily lives.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Game Changer. 2012, Simon & Schuster. Tr. $16.99. ISBN 9780689873805.
Gr 6-9—Driven to succeed in girls softball, KT Sutton lives and breathes the sport. Only in eighth grade, she is already getting attention from college recruiters. During the biggest game of her life, she pitches, blacks out, and wakes up with her world turned upside down. Here, sports are not important, and academic subjects are after-school activities. Those gifted academically attract the attention of college recruiters for scholarships in the same way that sports would in KT’s world. The personal journey she must take to return to her world will ring true with some, and the fast pace of the novel will be appealing to many.
Jeschoneck, Robert T. My Favorite Band Does Not Exist. 2012, Graphia. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780547721903.
Gr 6 Up—What if you ceased to exist? Idea Deity is convinced he lives in a novel, and only until his death in Chapter 64 does he realize the truth. In the real world, he has created a fictional band, Youforia, complete with websites, tour dates, and playlists. Meanwhile, Reacher Miracle, the actual leader of the band Youforia, can’t fathom how someone is posting all of his information, down to tour dates and playlists. Tying them together is the Swords and Sorcery novel. Which one is real? Do either of them exist? Jeschonek successfully pulls all the story lines together, resulting in a tale fans of Jasper Fforde and Libba Bray will not want to miss.
For more parallel stories and universes, check out some of these titles:
Beddor, Frank. Looking Glass Wars. 2007, Speak. pap. $8.99. ISBN 9780385737647. Gr 9 Up.
Donnelly, Jennifer. Revolution. 2011, Ember. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780385737647. Gr 8 Up.
Hainsworth, Emily. Through to You. 2012, Baltzer and Bray. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9780062094193. Gr 7 Up.
Levithan, David. Every Day. 2012, Knopf. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9780307931887. Gr 6 Up.
Myers, E. C. Fair Coin. 2012, Pyr. Tr. $17.95. ISBN 9781616146092. Gr 6 Up.
Oliver, Lauren. Before I Fall. 2011, HarperCollins. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780061726811. Gr 9 Up.
Pike, Christopher. Witch World. 2012, Simon Pulse. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 978-442430280. Gr 9 Up.
Scott, Elizabeth. As I Wake. 2012, Speak. Reprint pap. $9.99. ISBN 9780142422465. Gr 9 Up.
Vizzini, Ned. Other Normals. 2012, Baltzer + Bray. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9780062079909. Gr 7 Up.
This article was featured in School Library Journal's SLJTeen enewsletter. Subscribe today to have more articles like this delivered to you twice a month for free.