cover image Walking in Two Worlds

Walking in Two Worlds

Wab Kinew. Penguin Teen, $17.99 (296p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6900-2

In his YA debut, Kinew (The Reason You Walk, for adults), who is Midewin, centers powerful Anishinaabe teen Bagonegiizhigok “Bugz” Holiday, who’s “walking in two worlds”—the real and the virtual. On the reservation where she lives with her family, including her elected Chief mother, Bugz is navigating insecurities about her body, her friendships, and her brother’s cancer diagnosis. In the Floraverse, a sophisticated near-future virtual reality gaming world “modeled after living, growing things,” Bugz is famous, earning micropayments from fans and dominating against the misogynist, racist alt-right group Clan: LESS, who make it a goal to take Bugz out of the game entirely. Using her nation’s knowledge to marshal living beings in the ’Verse’s natural landscape, Bugz pits herself against the group’s artificial technology. But when Feng, part of Clan: LESS, leaves his real-life home in China to escape political persecution, and joins forces with Bugz, she must face her own fears about betrayal and loyalty, and Feng must decide where his loyalties lie—with his new love, Bugz? Or his seemingly loyal friends in Clan:LESS? This smart, entertaining speculative novel gives readers a unique and moving portrait of young life—and the possibilities for gaming life—from a tribally specific corner of the world. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)