cover image Otherworld


Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Delacorte, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-101-93932-1

Simon and Kat used to be best friends, but lately she has pulled away from him and taken to hanging with a bad crowd. Then an accident leaves Kat in an unresponsive state. The only way for the two of them to connect now is through a new virtual reality game known as Otherworld. When Simon plunges into Otherworld in search of Kat, he discovers bizarre realms dedicated to giving players exactly what they want—even if it kills them—and nonplayer characters that have taken on lives of their own. Back in the real world, he investigates a conspiracy involving Otherworld’s creators and their exploitation of victims like Kat. This fast-paced adventure straddles two worlds as it plays with familiar SF elements that include emergent AIs, virtual reality games, and evil corporations. Though the result is entertaining, Segal and Miller (the Nightmares! series) don’t bring much new to the genre; the real strength of the story is in its supporting characters, such as possibly asexual Busara Ogubu, a fellow student with secrets of her own. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)