Now That You're Here (Duplexity, part one)
By Amy K. Nichols
Expected publication December 9, 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Danny was on the run when a strange explosion rocked him. The next thing he knows, he's waking up in a classroom, looking at Eevee - but not the Eevee he knows. Is it possible that Danny has jumped universes? Eevee will stop at nothing to solve the mystery and help Danny figure out what happened to him.
I think I downloaded this galley on a whim - most science fiction I can take or leave. But parallel universes seem to be popping up more, so I figured I'd give it a shot. I feel pretty ambivalent about this one.
I liked the alternating narratives. Both Danny and Eevee were interesting characters with unique perspectives (though Eevee's name never stopped bothering me). I liked the basic storyline as well - parallel universes make my head hurt but are nevertheless interesting. But I had issues with the book as well. I feel like a lot of things could have been more fully developed - the first chapter is set in Danny's real universe and I don't have a real sense of what's going on there. Danny explains some of the differences to Eevee during the course of the novel, but I still don't feel like his world is fleshed out enough. Similarly, though I liked both characters well enough, I felt like they could have been developed more as well. The romance that inevitably develops between them feels false as well. It seemed to undermine Eevee's character, too - previously, she was a smart and driven girl who loved nerdy things. After Danny arrived, she worried only about how he felt about her, what he was doing, and how he was changing her. I did not love that aspect of the novel.
Pretty much what you'd expect to happen in the end does, leaving the set-up for the sequel. I can pretty much figure out exactly what's going to happen in book two. I'm not sure if I'll be back for it. This one was a quick read and held my interest the whole time, but it wasn't amazing. I'll probably pick up book two, but I don't think I'll be waiting on tenterhooks for it.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.