All Things Fiction

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RELATIVITY by Cristin Bishara was released in the U.S. on September 10, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Walker Childrens, the print edition is 288 pages.

NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion about the book.

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Description…

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?

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Review

RELATIVITY is a smart, thought-provoking and incredibly captivating novel that explores the concept of alternate realities and invites readers to contemplate the idea that one small change in a distant past can result in a radically different present, the notion that some things are meant to be, and the possibility that no matter how many different realities may exist, a perfect alternate may not.

Ruby Wright’s life hasn’t turned out quite as she had hoped it would. Her mother is not much more than a distant memory. Her father seems to care more about his deadlines than her. And she had to leave behind her home and her best friend George to move halfway across the country to live with her father’s new wife Willow and her daughter Kandy, who is anything but sweet.

So when a portal opens, giving her access to nine alternate versions of her reality, she is anxious to explore each of them in order to find one more perfect than her own. One where her mother is still alive. One where her father is more involved in her life. One where she can finally know what being happy really means.

But finding a better reality, one that has everything she wants, might not be possible. And even if she does find one, she’d have to give up everything from her reality – her past, her friend, the possibilities of that future – permanently displace a version of herself and slip into her new life knowing she took it away from someone else. Though, for her, the chance at a perfect life might be worth the cost.

She just needs to find it before the portal closes. Before time runs out and she’s left wondering whether one of her unexplored realities is even better. Before choosing a reality is no longer an option. Before she finds herself trapped in a reality far worse than the one she hopes to leave behind.

Author Cristin Bishara takes readers on a journey with her character, Ruby Wright, who is looking for a life that isn’t missing quite as many pieces as her own. She lets Ruby see what could have been and what might be, and gives her the chance to pick her future. She created a character who is intelligent and curious and incredibly determined but who is also vulnerable and in need of affection, which makes her both likable and relatable and a character worth rooting for.

RELATIVITY touches upon the science behind traveling between realities and presents it in a way that is interesting and easy to understand. It offers up food for thought about what might have happened to make one reality so drastically different from another, what would happen if Ruby chose to abandon her own reality, and why certain events seem destined to reoccur – it’s a story that allows readers to use their imaginations to explore all the possibilities.

At under 300 pages, RELATIVITY is a quick and engaging read, but one that will continue to make readers think long after they’ve turned the final page. With scientific concepts that are fascinating, a journey filled with excitement, anticipation and more than a little trepidation, a character whose plight is heartfelt and a story that asks the question “what if?” this book is a must.

Reviewer gives this book…

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On a personal note…

I am not someone who is particularly curious about science. I am not someone who typically reads science fiction. And yet from the moment I read the description for RELATIVITY I knew it was a book that I had to read.

The idea of alternate realities intrigued me. The fact that this story would take me through multiple realities made me even more excited to read it. And the possibility that one of those realities could be better than the one the main character, Ruby, was living made me want to find out if that was the case.

I was instantly drawn into the story. I loved that it moved quickly into the events that lead to Ruby’s travel between realities and developed the backstory during the course of her journey instead of dumping it all right at the outset. I loved that the science was explained in a way that was not dry or dull or boring. And I loved that there wasn’t just a quick peek at most of the alternate realities, that this story explored a number of them.

But what I loved most was that this story gave me a lot to think about. As interesting as the description was, I didn’t expect it to engage me in the way that it did. I didn’t expect to wonder what might have happened to make one of Ruby’s realities so very different from another. I didn’t expect to have to think about things like fate and destiny. And I didn’t expect to be as fascinated by the science as I was, so much so that I looked up wormholes online to learn more.

I could have spent hours exploring each of Ruby’s realities with her. I would have loved there to have been more time spent in each one, though I found the amount of time spent was enough to satisfy my curiosity. I would have loved to have answers to all of my questions, but at the same time I loved the fact that it was left up to me and my imagination to come up with my own.

When I first met Ruby I wasn’t sure she’d be a character I would like or relate to. Her interests weren’t ones I was ever interested in. Her dissatisfaction with her life seemed more a cry for attention than true unhappiness. But it didn’t take long for me to change my mind.

I was excited for her when she made certain discoveries about her family – no, I have no intention of revealing those spoiler-y discoveries here. I was heartbroken for her at the difficult decisions she was forced to make. And I was hopeful that whatever happened in the end – whatever, or whomever, she’d have to leave behind – wouldn’t be too devastating for her to recover from.

Even though this story wraps up nicely at the end, it still left me wondering what might be or what might have been. I found myself pondering just what tiny thing might have made one of the realities so very similar to another and what other tiny thing might have caused them to be so different. I’m still wondering about that. And I’m still wondering what happened in those alternate realities that Ruby visited after she’d left.

RELATIVITY totally surprised me by its intelligence. I was also caught by surprise at just how much I loved it, how quickly I devoured it and how much I would love to read a sequel. And while I normally don’t gravitate toward books in this genre, if the author wrote similarly themed books I would dive right in.

The story was engaging, it had a great pace, it offered up a touch of romance and a few moments that made me tear up. It made me think, which is not something that often happens with the books I read. And it made me wish for a happily ever after, which is also not something that’s happens very often.

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Favorite passage…

I have a favorite passage that brought me to tears. But revealing it would spoil something important to the story so I’ve opted to share just a bit of a scene that isn’t nearly as spoiler-y. And it’s one that made me smile.

I don’t belong here. I need to click my way through the universes and get back.

“Is that a yes or no?” George asks. His lips are parted, half-curled into a smirk, and he’s daring me. To say yes. I slide closer and this time he doesn’t inch away.

This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.