cover image All This and More

All This and More

Peng Shepherd. Morrow, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-327897-4

In Shepherd’s imaginative latest (after The Cartographers), a middle-aged woman wins the chance to star in a mind-bending reality TV show built around a new technology called The Bubble, which allows contestants to choose different lives for themselves and adjusts their memories to match. Marsh, a recently divorced paralegal, begins her tenure on the show by repeatedly and unsuccessfully attempting to rekindle her marriage. Eventually, she constructs new lives as a high-powered lawyer in Hong Kong, a wildlife photographer in Iceland, and more. She also pursues a romance with her high school boyfriend and improves her relationship with her teenage daughter. Each life feels like an improvement on her real one, but when glitches appear in The Bubble, Marsh worries her chance at a perfect life will slip through her fingers. In the chapter endings, Shepherd playfully mines nostalgia for Choose Your Own Adventure series (“If Ren didn’t break up with Marsh last night: Turn the page”). Whichever path readers take, they’ll find a tantalizing and well-knit story. Reality TV fans especially ought to take note. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, CAA. (July)