The Fray Theory by Nelou Keramati

The Fray Theory

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In Keramati’s debut YA fantasy, a Canadian neuroscience student runs into an ex-boyfriend and subsequently finds herself in danger in an adventure that stretches across multiple dimensions.

Neve Knightly was devastated when her significant other, Dylan Sterling, disappeared three years ago. Now that he’s resurfaced, she’s angry and confused, especially because he’s vague about where he’s been and why. As bad luck would have it, Romer Anthony, the gorgeous, mysterious carpenter who’s helping her out with her first art exhibition, is also Dylan’s former best friend. Then her own best friend, Elliot Wilder, commits suicide by drowning after Neve has a dream about that same manner of death. She’s had prophetic dreams before, but she’s tried to ignore them since childhood; her parents once sent her to a psychiatrist after she claimed she could predict the future. Dylan’s own shrink, Alex Galen, however, doesn’t think she’s crazy at all. In fact, he tells her that “dreams are windows to our alternate realities.” He goes on to say that when Neve is sleeping, she can access her other selves, or “Proxies,” throughout the multiverse, a process he calls “Resonance.” He believes that Resonance is responsible for moments of déjà vu, telekinesis, ghosts, and other strange phenomena; for example, Neve broke the loveseat in his office when all her Proxies temporarily occupied the same space. He calls his life’s work “The Fray Theory,” and he quickly entrusts Neve with his notes about it before shadowy antagonists show up at his door. Keramati makes it clear that Neve is embroiled in something dark and dangerous, but she leaves some juicy questions unanswered in this volume. Although the love triangle she sets up among Neve, Dylan, and Romer is standard fare for YA, it still feels organic—Neve’s attraction to both men makes sense, and her own personality never gets lost in her relationships with them. Her prose is rich in figurative language, and her similes are often pitch-perfect, as when Dylan thinks of Neve as being “like a tuxedo kitten curled up in every corner of his heart.” On the other hand, others don’t quite land, as when the author describes Neve’s classmates leaving a school building as being “Like a broken line of ants leaving a funeral.”

A promising start to a planned paranormal trilogy.

Publisher: Finch Hill
Program: Kirkus Indie
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