As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems.
Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.
Let's start with the cover love! Isn't it gorg?! It's even prettier IRL.
I read AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES in one sitting. I sat down on my couch Friday night with a nice Riesling, and my butt didn't move until I was at the end. It flew by. The first part of the book goes through the same week four times -- each time from the perspective of a different main character. It was really cool to see everyone's individual thoughts and where their minds were when they were together in the same scenes.
Then the second part of the book takes us on the road. I had expected a road trip story coming in, so I was a little thrown that it took so long for us to get there. But maybe that's okay because the road trip was painful and awkward. Not the writing -- the characters! It was supposed to be painful and awkward. These 4 kids are socially awkward and are all suffering through what they see as major issues. So now you throw them all together in a small space for a long period of time and it's sooo uncomfortable. One or two of the characters even realize throughout the book that they know more about their friends' game identities than they actually do about their friends.
Throughout the road trip the kids met several different characters who came in to impart knowledge, wisdom, food for thought. Then they excited stage right. I liked that. Instead of one Dumbledore type figure, you had all these unlikely wise men and wise women. I'll let you read the book to see why they might appear, at first glance, to be unlikely teachers for the kids. But they all are, and I think that might be my favorite part of the book. Very cool.
Thanks to Merit Press for sending me a copy of this book for my honest review.