Bullied by two of his female classmates, Scottish teen Brody Fair is saved by a handsome Spanish boy wearing blue fairy wings.
Nico Clark Calderón invites Brody—via an invitation written on an origami lily—to meet him on an Edinburgh hill on Thursday at 11:21 p.m. precisely. Charmed and eager to see Nico again, Brody sneaks out and enters Everland—a magical place where no one dies and the passage of time is ambiguous. At home, Brody, who is white, feels invisible to his overworked mother and agoraphobic father, caught between his gifted older brother and intense younger sister. In Everland, he is the drummer in a band and unafraid of being out as gay. He encounters a gang of misfits escaping their realities, including bisexual Argentinian Dani; Muslim Zahra, whose mother has multiple sclerosis; talented but stressed Japanese violinist Miyumi; and Polish Kasia, whose ex-girlfriend stopped coming to Everland. Challenges at home and changes in Everland eventually force Brody to make a difficult decision. Brody is a protagonist worth caring about; his insecurities and struggles are genuine and sympathetic, as is his temptation to run away and never look back. With empathy, Cameron (Out of the Blue, 2018) creates a cast in which every character is prone to being misjudged and has depth beyond their face value. She seamlessly weaves the two worlds together, creating a story that is deeply emotional and evocative.
For the lost and misunderstood. (Magical realism. 13-18)