The (almost) always-intriguing game of "what if" is subjected to tortuous navel-gazing in this debut.
The story opens two months after the death of Camden's girlfriend, Viv, in an automobile accident. Two years earlier, when his football career was sidelined permanently by an injury, it was Viv who exclusively sustained him. Now he has nothing. When he finds himself—again—one night at the shrine erected at the accident site and sees an unfamiliar girl in an eerie green light, he reaches into the green light to push her away, inadvertently pulling her into his reality. It turns out that in her universe, the accident at that street corner had a very different result. The grief-stricken Cam finds himself drawn to this alternate reality, learning much about himself and his relationship with Viv that both tantalizes and disturbs him. The novel takes a very long time to get to this point and presents only one possible permutation of Cam's reality, leaving readers with only their attachment to Cam to keep them going. Unfortunately, his first-person, present-tense narration first wallows in his misery and then plods along, describing thoughts and actions in blow-by-blow detail that quickly becomes tiresome.
Try the far more exciting and provocative The Future of Us, by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (2011), for a successful exploration of "what if." (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)