As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems. Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.
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Random note: There are a lot of great quotes in this book. My favorite one by far is this: "We live in [the United States] where as soon as you turn eighteen the government will ship you overseas to murder strangers." Read it once. Read it twice. And say, damn. Anyway, that is only one out of the many favorites quotes I have. The points these characters (and the book and by extent, the author) makes is amazing, and they fit really well into the plot/circumstances of the characters.
The prose could use some work. Some sections fails to flow well, but overall, it does its job. But some editing would help the book. (On this topic, I would also suggest editing the beginning and fixing some typos.)
Four characters. Mari, Sam, Dante, and Archie. Each of them are unique and different and similar in their own ways. They are all connected to the game of Dungeons & Dragons (which I have never played before to be honest). I empathize best with Dante and Mari. (However, I do lose Dante when someone tried to do an attempted ________ out of hate. That is a strange plot twist that doesn't seem to fit in.)
Mari, who I like the best, is the only girl out of the four-man band, and she writes alternative universes of her friends, her biological mother (Mari is adopted), and herself. Honestly, Mari is the only character I would read this book for. She is awesome, and a speech (to Sam) close to the end of the book highlights her awesomeness.
There are four plotlines. Basically, Mari is struggling with the issues at her wonderful home and a letter from her biological mother. Dante is trying to come out as gay, but his family doesn't like that (because of religion). Archie (the one I connected with the least) begins the story, and I honestly can't remember what his plot is (whoops). Sam and his girlfriend are drifting apart, and he is on a quest (similar to Paper Town's quest for Margo) for his girlfriend.
The ending is definitely one of the best parts of the book. It's memorable, and it ties all four characters nicely.
In conclusion, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES seems to be a so-so book. But what sets it apart from other YA Contemporary novels is its excellent usage of quotes, a few POC characters (who I understand!), and Mari. Mari is awesome.
Rating: Three out of Five
Source: My Library
One of my best friends let me borrow her Monster Manuel when she was trying to recruit me to play Dungeons and Dragons with her. And although we still haven’t gotten around to doing that, I’m kind of obsessed with it now. I always like roleplaying games, but this takes it to a whole other level.
So I decided to read this book with the light blue cover and long title, and I was fully prepared for intense D&D sessions.
AND IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN D&D. This book is real as shit.
A legitimate geeky book written by an awesomely geeky man who understands the classic geeky teenager. And. it. Was. On. Point. (let’s all take a flashback to high school and understand how true this is. You there? CAN YOU SEE IT!? Jesus. I have goosebumps now.).
Anyways, this book was raw. (“you know what else is raw?”-Archie, probably.) And as many times as I rolled my eyes every time Archie said something similar to THAT, I was laughing and crying just as much.
Meet the heroes of this quest:
I can’t even deal with how perfectly imperfect they all were. How perfect they were for each other. You know how some people just fit together? Yeah. These 4 got it down.
(not even mentioning Sarah because EAD, SARAH!) Side note: I honestly didn’t know what ‘EAD’ stood for until my 19 year old brother informed me, and now my 24 year old self uses it way too much for the profession that I am in.
And the trials and misfortunes they go through are just life. It’s just life and it’s coming through so honestly because of these 4 goobers that definitely know how to cast a resurrection spell, but probably don’t know how to change a tire are going with the motions. One blow at a time.
Road trip books remain a favorite of mine and I was pleasantly surprised that halfway thought it turns into just that! And it was the trip of a lifetime. From tornadoes to alligators, you’d think they were traveling through Florida and not Ohio.
An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes dips into the inner minds of teenagers in the most practical way. A story of family and friends and the realization that the line between the two is very thin.
You want a diverse, thought-provoking, hilarious book? This is it. Join the party.