In this sequel to The Riverman (2014), 12-year-old Alistair Cleary travels to a parallel world searching for his missing friend, Fiona.
Convinced that Fiona’s trapped in one of Aquavania’s worlds and his childhood friend Charlie’s somehow involved, Alistair, whose “curiosity…sometimes lapse[s] into foolishness,” accesses a liquid portal in Fiona’s basement and lands in Mahaloo, Aquavania’s master entryway. Here he learns that kids like Fiona who created Aquavania’s worlds are “daydreamers,” the creatures they create are “figments,” and outsiders like him are “swimmers”—and a creature known as the Whisper is sucking away daydreamers’ souls and subsequently controlling their worlds. Racing to find Fiona before the Whisper does, Alistair travels from one bizarre world to the next, where he’s manipulated and betrayed by surreal figments. Meanwhile, flashbacks of his twisted relationship with Charlie lead him to suspect his old friend is playing a dangerous game, and Alistair is “It.” Inclusion of a back story of Aquavania’s origins and history about Charlie and Fiona add mythic depth, fleshing out this tale of a timid hero who learns to trust his intuition as he confronts his past and faces a bewildering reality.
A riveting, imaginative, disconcerting, inscrutable, unresolved sequel, guaranteed to leave readers anxious for the finale. (Fantasy. 10-14)