Christie Burke's Infinite Booklist

I Will Save You September 12, 2012

Filed under: fiction,guys,realistic fiction,YA — Christie @ 7:20 pm
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The jacket blurb for this book is a little mysterious: Kidd is running from everything and runs into a girl, Olivia, who’s different from him in every way (except maybe the important ways that might mean something). Devon is both Kidd’s best friend and his worst enemy, carrying around a death wish and a lot of spite. Kidd doesn’t even know how Devon found him, but now Devon’s staying until Kidd learns a lesson or two. It doesn’t give you a lot to go on, but it does build suspense before you turn a single page.

The plot twist at the beginning of I Will Save You (yes, the beginning) opens the door for the rest of the story to be told as flashbacks, flashforwards, and dreamy-yet-revealing interludes. Ordinarily this would drive me a little crazy, but de la Peña does it skillfully and reveals a little at a time… bringing us through daredevil stunts, particularly sweet Kidd/Olivia moments, and terrible understanding at just the right pace. And then… guess what? Another plot twist at the end, so perfect and fascinating that I had to read the book twice.

This book moves quickly enough that it’d be a good choice for a reluctant reader. It’s a good “guy book,” especially for guys who may feel like no one really gets them. Readers who enjoy suspense and psychology will like I Will Save You, as will those who just appreciate a good, realistic narrative.

 

Interworld June 13, 2010

Interworld cover, Gaiman/Reaves, 2007

I’ve developed sort of a literary crush on Neil Gaiman.  His writing is clever and just enough off from actual reality to be chilling  (Coraline actually gave me nightmares – that whole parallel universe thing really got to me, for whatever reason.), and I’ll try out any book with his name on it.  I was pleased to run across Interworld (Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves, Eos/HarperCollins, 2007) and intrigued by the premise: not just one parallel world, but hundreds of thousands of worlds, each of which is spun off when someone makes a decision of any import.  If, on a given day, a world leader makes a decision to pursue peace instead of war – and it’s a hard decision, naturally, which affects untold numbers of people – in that leader’s world, his decision stands.  But another world is created in which he made the opposite choice, and any number of things are subtly wrong about that world.

Tenth-grader Joey Harker is the main character of Interworld, and he finds himself walking between worlds without warning or comprehension.  As he comes to understand what’s happening to him (and meets up with the many and varied incarnations of himself that exist in all these parallel worlds), he also learns about the ongoing battle between science and magic in the Multiverse – literally a battle, and literally deadly.  Joey has to make a hero’s decision when he is asked to take on more than he ever considered, and he ends in a place and a mode of living that he would never have thought possible before he started Walking.

I found this book delightfully creepy, action-packed and touching – if a little too easily resolved in some respects.  It’s a good coming-of-age story, and I think it’s interesting that my local library has it cataloged and shelved in Children’s Fiction.  I’d argue for YA/Teen myself.  There are definitely kids in my school who would read and enjoy this book – freshmen more than seniors, I think, but still.  I don’t think I would put Interworld in front of a kid younger than 12, either.  There’s a touch of melancholy and a sense of lostness (also present in Coraline and in Gaiman’s Neverwhere) that I think younger readers would miss or be confused by.  Wherever you want to shelve it, Interworld is a good read, and worth the short time it’ll take you to drink it in.