Five novellas weave together a possible future of a decaying world where everyone wants to find their way to the Other Place.
Cunningly set in a moving future (“one year from now”; “ten years from now”), with stories that look back to one another, these novellas each portray a specific moment while also contributing to a thematic look at missed connections and toxic connections among both individuals and entire parallel worlds. From Dylan, who first finds his way across universes, to Quinn, who will need to destroy a world to save a world, Peevyhouse plays with the unspoken to hint at the larger ideas. Each teen grapples with similar issues, seeking love and purpose, and despite strange futures, the five protagonists remain recognizable and sympathetic. Each protagonist has “vorpal,” a kind of will that can be imposed upon others and can bridge to the fairy-tale–like world of the Other Place (it’s hinted that it may be shaped partially in response to human desire). The stories beyond the first one (Dylan’s) provide a science fiction– and fantasy-imbued examination of the uncertain future of Earth (melting ice caps, rising wealth inequity, social media as collateral), parceled out with hints embedded in slices of individual lives.
Strange and compelling, this won’t be for every reader; the ones who love it will feel transported to another place. (Science fiction. 13 & up)