528p. Knopf. Feb. 2016. Tr $27.95. ISBN 9781101946824.
Henry Lytten, a British professor and struggling writer, is trying to complete an epic fantasy novel that will compete with the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. He bounces ideas off his young neighbor, Rosie, who inadvertently enters Lytten's magical Anterworld through a portal in his basement. A brilliant physicist and a respected scholar are just two of the other main characters—each chapter is told from 10 different points of view. While perplexing at times, the three settings (1960s England, Anterworld, and a dystopian island off the coast of Scotland) help keep the time travel/alternate history stories centered, and there is a satisfying conclusion. The author also created an app called Arcadia for iOS devices. It's free to download and explore, but finishing the novel costs $3.99. In the app, readers can choose how they want to read the novel—stories by character ("The Young Girl's Tale, "The Scientist's Tale," etc.) or by setting.
VERDICT This is metafiction at its best, and teens who like complicated science fiction will appreciate the challenge.

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