A GUIDE TO THE OTHER SIDE by Robert Imfeld

A GUIDE TO THE OTHER SIDE

From the "Beyond Baylor" series, volume 1
Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A pair of twins, one living and one dead, facilitate communication between the two communities.

The dead appreciate Baylor Bosco for his help communicating with their loved ones. The living struggle to understand or embrace those messages, especially if they involve a botched family recipe. Living white boy Baylor and his ghost twin sister, Kristina, have set a clear afterlife arrangement. Baylor relays the messages, and Kristina handles crowd control. One night their supernatural bond is threatened when a dark spirit visits Baylor in his bedroom. Unsettled and unable to get answers, Kristina and Baylor search both worlds for answers. Whatever problems lie ahead, they will face them together. In his debut, Imfeld creates in Baylor, Kristina, and their band of friends kids who could be found in any middle school. Well-rounded but not perfect, each main character has a moment to shine. However, for all the depth of the white protagonists, the side characters are given short shrift and occasionally even reduced to stereotype. Evoking a Latina’s accent with rolled R’s and phonetic spellings and describing a black character's hair as “out-of-control” distract readers and mar this work. Baylor's adventures will intrigue, excite, and captivate young readers, but they also risk alienating young brown and black children looking for adventure.

This series opener is funny, mystical, and endearing, if flawed; here’s hoping Baylor continues his journey with a more multidimensional cast. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6636-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Aladdin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016




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