Another Dimension of Us

Another Dimension of Us
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Release Date
January 17, 2023
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The Breakfast Club meets Stranger Things in this thrilling science fiction story about teens from the past and the future who travel across the astral plane to save the ones they love.

In 1986, Tommy Gaye is in love with his best friend, budding teen poet Renaldo Calabasas. But at the height of the AIDS crisis and amidst the homophobia running rampant across America, Tommy can never share his feelings. Then, one terrible night, Renaldo is struck by lightning. And he emerges from the storm a very different boy. 

In 2044, Herron High student Pris Devrees jolts awake after having a strange nightmare about a boy named Tommy and a house in the neighborhood the locals affectionally call "The Murder House." When she ventures to the house to better understand her vivid dreams, she happens upon an old self-help book that she soon realizes is a guide to trans-dimensional travel.

As bodies and minds merge across the astral plane, Pris, Tommy, and their friends race to save Renaldo from a dangerous demon, while uncovering potent realities about love, sexuality, and friendship.

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intriguing YA sci-fi
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ANOTHER DIMENSION OF US is an intriguing YA sci-fi read that follows teens in two timelines, 1986 and 2044. In 1986, Tommy Gaye has a crush on his close friend, Renaldo Calabasas. They are in a small poetry club together in school, and Tommy is not sure how to let Rene know about his feelings. Rene is obsessed with a book he found at the library about astral projection, and he has been trying to make it work. That was, until he started feeling like someone was following him with potentially sinister motives. Then, one day, Rene is not at school and is instead in a coma after being struck by lightning. When he comes out of the coma, he is a completely different person and does not even seem to remember Tommy.

In 2044, Pris goes to the same high school in the post-apocalyptic landscape caused by an ever-mutating virus. Teens in the town visit the Murder House to scare themselves and each other. When she goes with friends, they find an old book on astral projection. When her best friend gets a hold of it, something strange begins happening to her.

As Pris and Tommy try to figure out what is happening, they must also learn about astral projection before it is too late to save their friends.

What I loved: The premise of the story was really interesting with some thought-provoking themes. The book differentiates between the two timelines well, and the characters felt quite different. This imagines quite a different future than our experiences in the 2020s would predict, and these were intriguing to imagine. In 2044, they are dealing with a virus that had been around for 20 years or so and keeps mutating. In 1986, they are learning about a virus that seems to be targeting LGBT people (AIDS). These viruses and the response to them were juxtaposed amidst the background of the astral projection plots.

The story really speaks to the challenges of the teenage experience in terms of figuring out who you are and learning to embrace it. This was true in both timelines, albeit with disparate culture and experiences. The reader is introduced to Tommy first, and his story seemed to take priority, though many perspectives are eventually given to tell the story. Beyond Tommy and Pris, there are other chapters told from other characters' perspectives that flesh out the story more, such as from the perspective of a teacher and her experience with friends who had AIDS.

The sci-fi elements were pretty unique around astral projection as well as the future world-building, though they seemed to take a backseat to some of the personal development plots ongoing amidst the story.

What left me wanting more: The story seemed to get a bit windy in the middle, and it was harder to follow and focus on the key characters. The other perspectives kind of took the story off-track, and it was harder to stay immersed in the story as a result. There is a lot going on in each timeline, so it could have been helpful to really get into the main characters and stick with the main plot. However, some of the side tracks were also intriguing, so there are some pluses and minuses to both. It would be easy to put the book down in the middle when things get muddled, but the end does pull things back together as the reader begins to get more answers.

Final verdict: Overall, ANOTHER DIMENSION OF US is an intriguing YA sci-fi read about finding yourself, friendship, and being true to who you are.
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