Thursday, May 7, 2015
In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Smart, beautiful track star Kylie Simms is the girl of Jonathan's dreams, but untouchable in the real world, where Jonathan is all but invisible. It doesn't matter, though, because Jonathan has created a mirror world of his own, one where Kylie loves him unconditionally, one where he has friends and runs track and lives the "normal" life that he might have had. Everything is going along okay in Jonathan's worlds until the day he mistakes one world for the other and approaches the real Kylie for a kiss. All the sudden, everything Jonathan thought he knew about his life and his power is called into question, and maybe none of Jonathan's worlds are quite what they've always seemed.
I really enjoyed In a World Just Right. It starts out as a sweet, if misguided, romance between a boy who's lost everything and the girl of his imagination. Then it morphs into a much more intriguing story as the mystery behind Jonathan's power to create parallel worlds for himself is uncoiled and the implications of it for the worlds he manipulates become startlingly clear. Jonathan is a sympathetic character, wishing to blend in and forget in the real world but desperately wanting to be a hero or the boy he could have been in the worlds he creates. He's very realistically drawn, not ruined by the tragedy of his life, but always existing with an unspeakable grief just below the surface.
The best part of the book, however, is the end. I wouldn't for a moment chance spoiling it for anybody, but I will tell you that I was surprised, I ugly cried, and it made a middle of the road romance with magical leanings blossom into something much more profound. Brooks' debut is everything I'd hoped and more, a pitch perfect novel about love that shows up in many forms and the courage it takes to face every day in the real world.
(Thanks to the author for providing an advance copy for my honest review.)