I've been digging into a lot of books for younger readers lately. Though I frequently find as much depth and substance in YA books as I do in those written for mature readers, sometimes my reason for turning to tween shelves is that I just need something shorter. And so a lightweight-finish-in-a-day-or-two book was exactly what I was looking for when I pulled Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves off my TBR shelf.
Joey Harker is an average student who has never been praised for having a good sense of direction. He boasts that he could get lost in his own house, so when a class assignment drops him in the middle of his town with the challenge to find his way back to school, trouble is sure to follow.I admit that I was drawn to Interworld because Neil Gaiman co-authored it (with screen-writer Michael Reaves), and because the cover really caught my eye with its almost graphic novel type illustration. I know these aren't the best reasons for purchasing a book (the almost free price may have been) but I ended up really enjoying this story. There's a decent amount of science-y stuff thrown in - some physics to sound clever but nothing technical enough to be distracting - but also some thought-provoking situational philosophy. Rather than skimming over character decisions quickly for the sake of advancing the story, choice and consequence are reflected upon and some of the conversations ended up adding to the intensity of the otherwise cliche battle between good and evil. The fast-paced action-oriented plot make it a great introduction to science fiction for younger audiences; but Gaiman's signature wit and creative characters ensure that fans of his writing of any age will enjoy the novel. I may have picked this one up simply for a lighter read but it was definitely a worthwhile choice!
But where Joey's orienteering skills falter, a hidden talent is uncovered. Though he frequently gets lost in familiar places, Joey is a Walker - a unique individual with a talent for walking between parallel dimensions. Joey soon finds himself in the Interworld, a strange world-between-worlds, surrounded by various versions of himself. Some of the other realities are ruled by magic and others by science while still others exist with a balance between the two, yet all are threatened by HEX and Binary, two sinister forces out to destroy universes and those that Walk between them.