My new Sunday Spotlight feature (which actually bears a striking similarity to my old Saturday Spotlight feature) will showcase some of my favourite recent books reviewed for the superb Bookbag site.
Camden Pike is devastated by the death of his girlfriend Viv in a car accident, and blames himself for it. Then he meets Nina, a girl from a parallel universe. In her world, Viv is still alive, and he realises he doesn't have to let her go and he can be with this other her forever. Will he choose to give up everything he's ever known to be with the person he thought he'd lost, or let go of his girlfriend for good and stay in his own world?
I have to be completely honest and say that I rarely read sci-fi and similar books as I quite often get confused by them. However, the premise for this one was so intriguing that I decided to give it a go, especially since it's a mixture of sci-fi and contemporary. I'm glad I did - it has some really strong points, and is seriously impressive for a first novel. If it's not too strange a comment to make about a sci-fi book, it feels very realistic. Like Michael Grant's superb Gone series, despite the strangeness of the premise, the characters are completely believable, particularly the central quartet. Cam himself is perhaps the unluckiest guy in teen fiction, having suffered the death of his girlfriend, an injury which ended a promising football career, and his parents' divorce, but is likeable despite being understandably depressed at the start of the book. Nina's little brother Owen is a real sweetie, and the two girls Nina and Viv are intriguing characters.
It's also refreshingly unpredictable - I honestly didn't have any idea how this one was going to end up, and the twists and turns kept me guessing right to the last few pages. In addition, it's very atmospheric, with the start of the story being fairly slowly paced but with just enough intrigue to draw the reader in, and the action rapidly picking up speed in the second half.
Highly recommended and I'm really looking forward to reading Emily Hainsworth's next book!