Maisie Day’s life stops on her 10th birthday—or perhaps it begins.
Combining theoretical astrophysics and sibling dynamics, Edge (The Jamie Drake Equation, 2018, etc.) weaves another science-based tale. Maisie is “academically gifted,” curious about how the universe works, tutored at home after a bad school experience, and doing university-level studies in math and physics online. Her resentful 15-year-old sister, Lily, follows a more usual path, facing high school exams and peer pressures. Chapter by chapter, Maisie’s first-person, present-tense narration alternates between versions of her 10th birthday: the morning before a fatal accident and the disorienting experience of waking up in a virtual reality that begins with the same day. The disorientation is echoed in the reader’s experience as the ending of each chapter seems to lead into the beginning of the one that follows—but in a different existence. In the story, the experience of passing through a black hole is likened to the gradual destruction of a computer game from the inside, with time and space stretching; passing through the singularity at the black hole’s heart allows entrance into a different reality. An author’s note will help readers think about the science concepts introduced. These white-presenting girls are not particularly convincing characters, and the description of public education is uninformed, but the fact that the science-obsessed protagonist is female is positive.
A thought-provoking speculation about the nature of reality. (Science fiction. 10-13)