FICTION

Into the Real

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Oct. 2020. 432p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062691385.
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Gr 8 Up–The work of understanding one’s own identity, including gender, is explored in this genre-blending novel. Quinn, their parents and brother, girlfriend Lia, and sidekicks Lloyd and Caleb seem to be caught in several alternate realities that unfold from each into the next and back again, as Quinn proves to be both an unreliable narrator and a character whose intricate interior evolution becomes the real story. One setting is a dystopian fantasy in which Quinn and company must fight against monstrous and sinister beings; another is a pray-the-gay-away “camp;” and a third depicts a home life that ranges from loving to cruel. As in Greek mythology, successive moments seem to contradict anything that just happened previously, and all the characters are written to expose them as both forces of good and forces of evil, from Quinn’s kaleidoscopic account. Dialogue and tender and tumultuously violent scenes are recounted in flowing prose, though Quinn’s interior monologue is written with wooden sentences, making it less compelling.
VERDICT Every book indeed has its reader(s) and teens who are contemplating the constructs of their identity will appreciate Quinn’s company.

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