Immersive augmented reality brings this action-packed fantasy to life. The town of Eden Grove has a legend: In the center of a pine forest there is an aspen grove, and in the center of the aspen grove is an ancient, magnificent tree. A tree that grants wishes. Mayberry and Marshall have heard the stories about the Wishing Tree, but they know nothing like that could really exist near their dreary town. Misunderstood and restless, the teenagers wish for a lot of things, including being on another planet altogether. Somewhere with magic and adventure—someplace where they can be heroes. And then the unlikeliest thing happens: On a hike through the forest, they find the Wishing Tree. The pair make their wish, fall asleep . . . and wake up on Nith, a world that is exactly what they asked for. The alien landscape is beautiful, but it’s also full of dangerous and fantastic creatures, and almost without exception, the creatures are hungry. Soon Mayberry and Marshall learn two very important facts about their wish: First, that magic comes at a very steep cost; second, that they can only be heroes if they can survive. The journey that follows will test the limits of their courage and strength . . . and change them in ways they haven’t begun to imagine. This epic work brings fantasy to life, first by inviting readers into another world, then by using cutting-edge augmented reality technology to bring the world alive in interactive 3D.
The Wishing Tree
BETWEEN WORLDS by Skip Brittenham harkens back to many classical fantasies in that there is a secret, seemingly mundane portal ready to transport people to another dimension. In this case, it is a large aspen tree that sends two young teenagers to Nith, a place full of dangerous creatures who are looking for their next meal, and also a place where humans possess magic. Mayberry and Marshall, the two protagonists, must learn to harness their powers and navigate their way through Nith if they hope to return home to Eden Grove alive.
BETWEEN WORLDS is an easy and quick read. The pacing throughout is consistent, keeping the book moving in a forward momentum. Additionally, the two lead characters are compelling and relatable. They are misfits in their small school and are often bullied for being “different.” Looking to find their niche in the world, luckily, they happen to find it in each other. Mayberry is very smart at science and math, while Marshall is a tech whiz. Together, the two of them are resourceful and make a great team.
Overall, BETWEEN WORLDS is a sweet tale that is peppered with adventure. It should do very well with the late elementary to middle school readers who enjoy using their imaginations. In fact, the book itself has a complementary app that can be downloaded on an electronic device and allows the reader to experience the story in an immersive augmented reality, making this novel very much a product of the twenty first century. There are also accompanying color photos throughout the book that help in depicting the foreign beings the author describes. I personally wanted a slightly more complex plot as the protagonists were on the run for a decent portion of the book, which did not always contribute to an overall purpose. However, with that being said, anyone on the market for a light and fun read will not be disappointed by BETWEEN WORLDS.