Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop for Cristin Bishara's blog tour for the recently released Relativity. Hosted by Rockstar Book Tours, the Relativity love will be spread across several blogs through September 20. As part of the tour, Cristin is hosting TWO contests, which you can enter through the Rafflecopter embedded below after the cut. But first our review:
Walker Books (Bloomsbury)
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released September 10, 2013
YA / Parallel Worlds / SciFi
If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can't come true; some things just can't be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities.
Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?
I went into Relativity a bit blind. Other than a vague notion of parallel worlds and a cover that is captivating in how different it is from current YA books, I didn’t really have an expectations going in. It didn’t take me long to realize that this book is unlike most others, that it’s a smart YA story with serious science fiction themes weaving the plot together. It’s not just hand-waveium and “because I said so”, but a logical explanation tied with a little bit of mysticism that creates a smart, truly science fictional universe.
I’m not going to claim that the science is accurate or if I handed it over to a physicist that they would confirm that all the science works out, but I will say that this book doesn’t treat me like I’m stupid. That’s something I can appreciate. There is a lot of “science babble” with basic string theory and other physic principles scattered around the pages like so many stars connecting the plot pieces together. And it all makes sense. Ruby is a prodigy science geek, who thinks in a way that a 15-year-old prodigy science geek would if they were also emotional damaged and seeking a better life.
Ruby has recently been transplanted to middle of nowhere Ohio, far from her happy home in the San Francisco home where she hung out with George – the sweet artist boy, who she majorly crushed out on but never did anything about it. Her mother died in a freak car accident when she was four and her father recently remarried to a seemingly nice enough artistic lady after a short long-distance courtship. Along with the nice enough artistic lady comes along a demon spawn step-sister, who spends most of the book being little more than a two dimensional mean girl on steroids, who is possibly homicidal.
Upon arriving in Ohio, Ruby becomes a little obsessed with this giant tree about a half mile into the corn field behind the house. After a particularly violent encounter with her evil step-sister, Ruby rushes to the tree for safe haven to find that what was previously a very large, very strange tree now has a door carved into it and a code written above the door. This starts the mystery of the tree that can transport Ruby into parallel dimensions and her sudden obsessive need to find the perfect universe where her family is still whole and unblemished by car accidents or sudden marriages or murderous step-sisters.
So a wormhole in a tree sounds a bit silly, but wrapped in Ruby’s obsessive musings on string theory, wormholes and parallel universes, it becomes less silly. While the internal monologue could become a bit redundant and a bunch of white noise to many readers, I understood that thought process of finding a puzzle, grasping on to it with all you have and using all your brain power resources to churn over a solution. She is a lost girl suddenly thrown into a new situation, so instead of just running away from home, she runs to alternate universe, one after the other, looking for a new home.
For a while it looks like the parallel universes are going to swap between two basic bases – the rundown and depressing Ennis, where Ruby has original found herself, and the far more beautiful small town Ó Direáin. It was interesting enough to see how just a few changes could have such a large effect on the modern world, but by the time the second incarnation of Ó Direáin appear, it become a little monotonous. Bishara didn’t disappoint me though as she quickly changed up the rest of the parallel worlds to more drastically different worlds. Though not much time is spent in these drastically different parallel universes, it was nice to see that all the universes were based on two basic templates.
My only irritant was the book came towards the end where I yelled simple solutions on how to get the various appendages of a person out of the way of a heavy closing door that didn’t involve dragging the full body weight of a person. Considering that is my only real complaint, I’d say this book is a winner. Ruby can be stubborn, impulsive and incredibly selfish, but she is created that way so that she can be the conduit for a message about being thankful for what you have. Trite? Yes, but it’s a worthy message that is framed in a drastically different manner than it usually is.
Bishara has created a short fast-paced science fiction adventure with a heroine that may not be loveable, but is absolutely believable, smart and opinionated. It’s also a standalone, so points for that. If you aren’t into science babble, this one might drag for you a little, but for those who might want a little more thinking involved with their YA, Relativity is definitely worth a try.
Enter to Win
Enter to win a SIGNED hardcover copy of RELATIVITY provided by the generous author. Three winners will be picked. US Only.
And for the BONUS giveaway, follow the instructions below to win a special surprise courtesy of Cristin!
And the secret word for the WFTM stop is:
Before publishing Relativity, Cristin Bishara worked as a professional copywriter, and taught composition and fiction writing at the university level. She has an M.F.A. in creative writing. Cristin lives in Florida with her husband, two girls, and rescued racing greyhound.
The Tour Schedule:
Sept. 9th - Seeing Night Reviews - Guest Post + Review
Sept. 10th - Two Chicks on Books - Guest Post
Sept. 11th - Parajunkee - Interview
Sept. 11th - Working for the Mandroid - Review
Sept. 12th - Fic Fare - Interview
Sept. 13th - The Bookshelf Sophisticate - Guest Post
Sept. 16th - Fiktshun - Guest Post
Sept. 17th - Imaginary Reads - Interview
Sept. 18th - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads - Interview
Sept. 18th - Icey Books - Interview
Sept. 19th - The Book Monsters - Interview
Sept. 20th - Readers In Wonderland - Review
Sept. 20th - [B.O.O.K.L.I.F.E.] - Interview