As Quinn fights to save her dying sister, their realistic struggles blend with fantasy and speculative fiction in this series opener.
Quinn’s younger sister, Riley, was born with a heart deformity, and as Riley’s seventh birthday approaches, she begins to exhibit signs of heart failure. With Quinn, Riley, and their single mother out of medical options, Quinn knows they need a miracle. While leaving a wishful note at Riley’s favorite butterfly garden, Quinn follows an unusual butterfly through a portal to an alternate realm. There, oxygen, light, and other essentials of life defy earthly logic, and the boundaries of caves, deserts, and oceans merge together inexplicably. Quinn meets Meelie, an aviatrix whose plane crashed into the realm (and who Quinn later discovers is Amelia Earhart). With the help of Meelie and others lost in history, Quinn seeks a potential cure for Riley. Slipping between two worlds has its own price, however, and she must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice. Although Quinn is 15 and acts as a caregiver with some attendant tough choices, the storyline reads more like a middle-grade novel, as it focuses on her fantastical adventures. Devoid of sex, alcohol, and violence, this book does make a good option for conservative readers. Numerous questions, including the significance of mysterious kaleidoscopes from the girls’ absent father, remain unanswered. Quinn and her family present as white.
Simultaneously odd and intriguing. (Fantasy. 12-15)