I used to watch reruns of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. They had excellent scriptwriters creating many thought provoking stories. This debut novel by Jennifer Maschari would certainly make a great story for them to consider if the show ever returns.
Charlie Price is a boy in grief after losing his mother to cancer. I anticipated a sad tale and many parts were, but Charlie’s journey to understand involves much more, especially when he finds a parallel world. It’s a place his younger sister discovered first through a portal under her bed. This world is just like their real one except for one crucial difference – Charlies deceased mom and his best friend who disappeared without a trace are alive and appear to be the same they were in the regular world.
What could be a fantastic solution to eliminating his sadness soon turns into questions about what this new world is really trying to accomplish. It is through this journey of discovery that Charlie finds a the future that will be different, but also hopeful.
A nice addition to the middle grade shelves.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016 PAGE COUNT: 290
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Ever since twelve-year-old Charlie Price’s mom died, he feels like his world has been split into two parts. Before included stargazing and Mathletes and Saturday scavenger hunts with his family. After means a dad who’s completely checked out, comically bad dinners, and grief group that’s anything but helpful. It seems like losing Mom meant losing everything else he loved, too.
Just when Charlie thinks things can’t get any worse, his sister, Imogen, starts acting erratically—missing school and making up lies about their mother. But everything changes when one day he follows her down a secret passageway in the middle of her bedroom and sees for himself.
Imogen has found a parallel world where Mom is alive!
There’s hot cocoa and Scrabble and scavenger hunts again and everything is perfect . . . at first. But something doesn’t feel right. Whenever Charlie returns to the real world, things are different, and not in a good way. And Imogen wants to spend more and more time on the other side. It’s almost as if she wants to leave the real world for good. If Charlie doesn’t uncover the truth, he could lose himself, the true memory of their mother, and Imogen . . . forever.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE by Jennifer Maschari
- The concept and the resulting story bring readers much more than expected. It is a fascinating look at how we deal with grief and even in fantasy, a lesson we can all use.
- The characters will be ones you care about deeply, and when the ends rolls around too quick you’ll smile knowing the author brought them to life in expert fashion.
- The story is actually an uplifting journey fit for kids and adults.
- Charlie’s devotion to his friends and sister was a touching tribute to just how emotionally heartfelt 12-year-old kids can be.
- Kids who are dealing with a loss in their life have a story to bring a sense of peace to their confusion.
FAVORITE LINE: And even though Mom wasn’t here to cheer him on and he couldn’t quite depend on Dad to actually put an apple in his lunch, two plus two still equaled four.
AUTHOR QUOTE: I loved school so much that I became a teacher! I taught science and language arts for many years. It was the greatest thing to be able to talk about books I loved and to share my passion for writing (and for science!). My favorite things to teach were poetry and about outer space. We had a leopard gecko in our classroom named Garbanzo, and I had a mountain of frog stuffed animals in our reading corner. (I love frogs!) I taught a lot of great kids, and we had a lot of fun learning. Now, I still work with kids but as a tutor and an author. (Read more at Jennifer’s Author Web Site)
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.