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Between Worlds

Review

Between Worlds

Written by Skip Brittenham with illustrations by Jay Anacleto

I wish I could be teleported to another world through my local wishing tree. While it looks like it might never happen to me, Marshall and Mayberry, the main characters of Skip Brittenham's BETWEEN WORLDS, have that exact fate handed to them when they go to Eden Grove’s “Mystery Forest." No really, when they fall asleep next to a regular looking tree, they wake up in a completely new world full of crazy creatures they never could have even dreamed of seeing. However, it turns out that it’s tough to be a hero, and they are forced to learn how to control magic in order to survive, but also to play into a scheme they never could have imagined.
 
In the midst of all the monsters who only want to use them, they find out more about themselves as they learn to control their magic. While accompanying them on their journey to get stronger and master their magic, I couldn't help but feel attached to them. Throughout the entirety of this novel, Marshall and Mayberry fight to control their powers and learn more about the place they were transported to and the beasts in lurking it.

"It was an amazing experience to be able to mash technology with my reading. AR technology is what makes this book a game-changer, and I hope to see it accompany more books in the future."

I loved that Marshall and Mayberry weren’t considered to be the most beautiful, perfect human beings on Earth. It was actually really refreshing, especially when a lot of authors are trying to add diverse characters into their novels, Brittenham really succeeded at doing so by adding characters that represented the average teen, and not some crazy agile warrior that most YA books seem to default to for their heroes and heroines.
 
I tried really hard to fall in love with this book. It was all there: the relatable protagonists, an enchanting new world and even using augmented reality to show the story in a new light! But I just wasn’t drawn into the story itself. Sure, I loved the way Brittenham described the setting, the way the smallest details of the story were still acknowledged and loved, but I just wasn’t engrossed into it. For a young adult novel, BETWEEN WORLDS is exceptionally tame: there is not too much action, but there is still a great group of characters who show off the meaning of friendship in heartwarming ways.
 
However, the augmented reality app that came with this book was probably one of the most impressive aspects of it all. When I got my copy, I got the free companion app and put my phone over the illustrations embedded between the pages of the novel. When I did, the picture came to life and a 3-D model popped out. Sometimes it was a tree and sometimes it was a mythical creature, but I could always interact with them by clicking on them and moving my phone around. I could also read entries from Mayberry’s journal or play mini games. It was definitely an amazing experience to be able to mash technology with my reading. AR technology is what makes this book a game-changer, and I hope to see it accompany more books in the future.
 
That being said, I think that this book has promise, and seekers of an adventure who want to see what it’s like to add augmented reality to your reading experience should really check BETWEEN WORLDS out. BETWEEN WORLDS is a great introduction to fantasy novels for middle grade readers, but lacked the spirit of a young adult novel.

Reviewed by Rachel D., Teen Board Member on June 22, 2016

Between Worlds
Written by Skip Brittenham with illustrations by Jay Anacleto

  • Publication Date: August 30, 2016
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Friendship, Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0399176896
  • ISBN-13: 9780399176890