Sophia is desperate to find a world where her impossible Memories of life with her dead mother are real, but what will she do if she gets there?
Sophia, 12, lives in a small town where everyone knows each other. For a science project about the coming solar eclipse, she is partnered with DeAndre, or DJ, a smart boy whose father has run off and whose older sister drives “an indecently red car,” and with Luke, an explosive boy whose sister died in a car accident. Sophia and DJ learn that they were both born on the day of the last solar eclipse in their town. They also both have Memories, experiences that feel more real than daydreams, in which they live moments from lives that are different from theirs: Sophia’s mother is alive, and DJ has a loving stepfather. They set out to find where these Memories exist, and Luke joins them in the hope that he can find a world in which his dead sister is alive. Can they find their happier parallel universes? And what will happen if they do? Zhang’s writing is a pleasure to read, and her resistance to tying up each character’s loose ends is refreshing for readers who like to ponder. The loose ends of the parallel-universe concept, however, may not satisfy fantasy fans. The cast seems to be a largely white one with the exception of DJ and his family, who are black; that the only black dad in the book has left his family is unfortunate.
Overall, a nice choice for a book club, full of heart and imagination. (Fiction. 8-12)