For the past 16 years, Hazel Stanczak has been tied to the interdimensional rift that materialized on her family’s farm in West Asherton, Pa., when she was born, restricting her movements to a mile-and-a-half radius lest the rift spit out anomalies. Under strict government control, she’s unable to experience normality. But then the rift “[shakes] loose” and “[leaps] away.” In its wake, Hazel encounters alternate-dimension “skewed versions” of herself, plus an exasperated dragon named Neven, who says that Hazel has been chosen to save the world, with her other selves as “last-minute support.” Now the Hazels must defeat the dangerous forces unleashed by the rift and thwart destiny, since to succeed, a specific Hazel must die. Duyvis (On the Edge of Gone) subverts the Chosen One trope, with a hero thoroughly unprepared for her burden. Hazel’s depiction as an anxious, sheltered protagonist is expanded by the other Hazels’ reflections of her personality. One is “gay as Hell,” allowing the original Hazel to realize her nascent asexuality, while another, who has endometriosis, represents a real-world alternative. Though the plot and cast feel overstuffed, the story offers a provocative, genre-bending look at exploring identity. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Sept.)
Correction: This review has been updated for factual accuracy.
Reviewed on : 09/03/2020 Release date: 09/01/2020 Genre: Children's