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Otherbound
     

Otherbound

4.6 7
by Corinne Duyvis
 

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Nolan doesn't see darkness when he closes his eyes. Instead, he’s transported into the mind of Amara, a girl living in a different world. Nolan’s life in his small Arizona town is full of history tests, family tension, and laundry; his parents think he has epilepsy, judging from his frequent blackouts. Amara’s world is full of magic and

Overview


Nolan doesn't see darkness when he closes his eyes. Instead, he’s transported into the mind of Amara, a girl living in a different world. Nolan’s life in his small Arizona town is full of history tests, family tension, and laundry; his parents think he has epilepsy, judging from his frequent blackouts. Amara’s world is full of magic and danger--she’s a mute servant girl who’s tasked with protecting a renegade princess. Nolan is only an observer in Amara's world--until he learns to control her. At first, Amara is terrified. Then, she's furious. But to keep the princess--and themselves--alive, they'll have to work together and discover the truth behind their connection.
A fascinating premise, clearly and compellingly written and imagined by a startlingly original debut writer.

Praise for Otherbound
FOUR STARRED REVIEWS
"Original and compelling; a stunning debut."
--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Numerous plot twists drive the story along, and it’s grounded in worldbuilding that creates a believable, authentic setting.  Duyvis makes ingenious use of a fascinating premise."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"While Duyvis’s debut is an exciting take on the fantasy genre, as it alternates between our world and that of the Dunelands, the true strength of the novel is in its positive portrayal of LGBT issues."
--School Library Journal, starred review

"Fantasy and speculative fiction fans will no doubt enjoy the ride, while authors should take note—this is how you do fantasy in a global world."
--The Bulletin of The Center for Children’s Books, starred review

"Duyvis creates a humdinger of an adventure that contains the agony of loyalty, the allure of magic, and, most gratifyingly, the element of surprise."
--The Horn Book Magazine

"Debut author Duyvis has written a nice twist on the classic bodysnatchers theme and keeps the pace moving smoothly, even when jumping between Nolan’s and Amara’s perspectives. Her racially diverse characters struggle with both disabilities and sexual identity, but she keeps her focus solidly on the story and character development so that diversity integrates naturally into both Nolan’s and Amara’s experiences."
--Booklist

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 04/21/2014
Whenever high school student Nolan Santiago closes his eyes, he sees through the eyes of Amara, a girl in another world. Amara, a mute slave with healing powers, has been bound to princess-in-exile Cilla since childhood, forced to absorb the curse that could kill Cilla if she spills just one drop of blood. Nolan suffers every bit of Amara’s pain until he accidentally overdoses on his medication and discovers he can escape Amara’s body. But when Nolan leaves, so do Amara’s healing abilities. Debut novelist Duyvis smoothly integrates elements of diversity and disability into her cast without letting them stand in for deeper characterizations. Nolan, whose father is Mexican, is an amputee and suffers seizurelike blackouts when he’s pulled into Amara’s world. Equal respect and weight are given to both of Amara’s romantic relationships—she loves her (male) fellow servant, Maart, and has feelings for Cilla, despite the power imbalance between them. Numerous plot twists drive the story along, and it’s grounded in worldbuilding that creates a believable, authentic setting. Duyvis makes ingenious use of a fascinating premise. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (June)
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Karen Sykeny
This dual-setting novel takes places in both modern-day and fantasy world settings and follows two protagonists: Nolan, a teen who suffers from debilitating seizures whenever he closes his eyes, and Amara, a servant who is often tortured and punished but heals quickly. Nolan writes “stories” in his journals based on Amara’s life of serving an exiled princess on the run. He realizes that he can physically take over Amara’s mind and body when he is in her world. His journal reads like someone’s personal therapy journal, and there are not enough details to understand the culture and place Nolan visits. Major questions are left unanswered. Who are these travelers really, and why/ how do they travel worlds? Why did they really want to stay in Amara’s world? The story seems unfinished rather than open-ended or left to readers’ imaginations. Character development is lacking, and readers will have difficulty connecting with either protagonist. Due to its lack of clear purpose and thematic clarity, as well as lack of fantasy world-building, the novel fails to engage its intended audiences. In addition, it fails to engage as an interesting allegory about mental illness or teen angst. Choppy back-and-forth pacing and story lines feel disjointed. Serious fans of fantasy crossovers may read this book with pushing, but they will need to invest time and may fail to care about the characters and understand the point of the characters’ journeys. Casual fans may give up before reaching the end. Reviewer: Karen Sykeny; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
★ 06/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—High school can be a confusing and difficult time for any teen, but it has been exceptionally hard for Nolan. While his family and his doctors insist that he has been experiencing chronic seizures, comas, and incredibly detailed hallucinations, the truth is that every time he closes his eyes, his consciousness is transported into the mind of Amara, a servant girl living in the Dunelands, a realm where mages and magic are commonplace. It has been several years since he started seeing through Amara's eyes, but in all of that time, he has only been a silent watcher, unable to even let Amara know he is there. Even worse, Nolan has endured great pain in both Amara's world and his own, as Amara had been chosen by a mage to protect a crown princess in hiding after her family was usurped in a violent revolution. Everything suddenly changes when Nolan begins to gain control over Amara's movements, forcing the two to work together in order to discover the truth behind the revolution that led to the princess's exile. While Duyvis's debut is an exciting take on the fantasy genre, as it alternates between our world and that of the Dunelands, the true strength of the novel is in its positive portrayal of LGBT issues. This becomes most important in establishing the character of Nolan, an adolescent who has experienced most of his adolescence from the perspective of a girl, and in the nuanced portrayal of Amara's relationships.—Ryan F. Paulsen, New Rochelle High School, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-04-16
Worlds collide as two teens fight for their lives.Nolan Santiago isn't your average teenager. When he closes his eyes, he finds himself in another world, seeing life through the eyes of the mute servant Amara. Amara serves and protects the cursed Alinean princess Cilla, who struggles to stay alive in order to reclaim her family's rule over the Dunelands. Back in Arizona, Nolan lives his life as a disabled epileptic, trying to shield his parents from the horrors of his dual existence as the costs of expensive pharmaceuticals and medical specialists overwhelm family finances. With each blink of his eyes, Nolan re-emerges into Amara's harsh but magical reality, where almost every moment is fraught with brutality and betrayal. As Amara's journey with Cilla leads her toward the capital, she and Nolan must recognize how each controls the other's fate in ways neither of them thought possible. Duyvis smoothly transitions between the two main characters' thoughts and emotions while realistically conveying the individual alienation and terror of two very different people. Rich worldbuilding, convincing nonheteronormative relationships, balanced class issues, and nuanced, ethnically diverse characters add to the novel's depth. The well-paced action builds toward an unexpected, thrilling conclusion that will leave readers eager for more from this promising new author.Original and compelling; a stunning debut. (Fantasy. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419709289
Publisher:
Amulet Books
Publication date:
06/17/2014
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
896,256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Lexile:
HL680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Corinne Duyvis is a novelist and short story writer and an editor of the website Disability in Kidlit. She’s a graduate of the Clarion West writer’s workshop and lives in Amsterdam. www.corinneduyvis.net.

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Otherbound 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
BlowPop More than 1 year ago
So yeah. I liked this book but it also made me uncomfortable. Especially when it came to issues of disability and bodily autonomy. A lot of which I voiced in last night's #BiYABooks twitter chat. I'm going to try to expand on a few things I mentioned explicitly in my tweets. I really didn't like that it took half the book (maybe a bit more or less, not sure on that at the moment) for Amara to show more than just confusion over her feelings towards Cilla. I understand why of course but understanding doesn't mean I'll like it any more. And the ending. It was both too abrupt and too ambiguous to say 100% that it was a happily ever after ending. All in all though, it was a pretty good book. That I'd definitely recommend. Full review can be found here: https://blowpopsbooks.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/review-otherbound/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has it all. I was in love with everything this book threw at me. I'm that person that's always searching for a book that has a multitude of character representations. From skin color to sexualities to disabilities. I was so captivated by the authors ability to weave such a complicated story. If you're into stories about survival and strength, this is the book for you. Its my new favorite.
AvaJae More than 1 year ago
I always love when I read a book from a nice person on Twitter and it turns out that along with being really super nice, they’re actually totally awesome at the whole book-writing thing, too. OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis is one of those examples. So I began reading OTHERBOUND thinking it would be a cool fantasy story with a diverse cast and an interesting premise. I was right, but wow, I didn’t realize how impressive this book would be. The world building and magic system alone makes the unique world of OTHERBOUND so very interesting—I’ve never seen a magic system quite like what Duyvis put together in Nolan and Amara’s intertwined worlds, and it was totally refreshing to see a fantasy world where there are consequences to magic use (can you say FINALLY?). Combined with the intricate details of the cultures (yes! more than one! thank you again!) and norms of Amara’s world and the totally fascinating epilepsy-not-really-epilepsy-like attacks Nolan gets in his reality when slipping into Amara’s world, and it all makes for one really interesting story. I will say that there were some aspects of Amara’s world that confused me and/or I had trouble grasping, but all in all, the world building was really well done and I totally admire the way Duyvis wrote Nolan and Amara’s worlds. Oh, and have I mentioned the diverse characters? This made me so happy. Nolan is a latino amputee with “epilepsy” (and even though we know it’s not epilepsy, the way Amara’s world affects him in a way that totally breaks your heart) and Amara is a mute bisexual girl. Not only that, but the full cast beyond the protagonists are so very diverse and it really was an extra bonus in an already fabulous book. I totally recommend this book to those who enjoy YA Fantasy, and I look forward to more books from Duyvis!
BooksAplenty More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued by the premise of Otherbound. I love reading the worlds that authors create, and in this book Corinne Duyvis had to create TWO vastly different worlds. I was eager to see how she would manage the switching back and forth between worlds, and if it would be confusing as the reader. The short answer is that the switching between worlds was smooth and easy to follow, but the world development had a few holes. This is an ambitious story and it starts off slowly to accommodate for all the complications of dual world-development. I found it a bit confusing in the first 100 pages - not because the worlds were switching back and forth, but because Amara's fantasy world had so many darn people, places, and culture names that I just couldn't keep track of them all. Corinne Duyvis dumps you right into the action, so the reader has to get their bearings, while also following plot. This is difficult because there are 2 sets of characters, 2 sets of places, and 2 plots to follow. Since I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher (in exchange for an honest review), my version did not have a map to help me sort out all these things. After the first 100 pages, though, Otherbound became a real page-turner. I even read the last 150 pages in one sitting. There were lots of plot twists - they were perfectly timed and sufficiently shocking. Some were downright terrifying! The writing was so vivid in sections that I literally held my breath and squeezed the book tightly through some of the more tense scenes. I initially rated Otherbound a 3.5 because of the slow, confusing start. However, I'm going to bump it up to 4 since the published version includes a map that will DEFINITELY help readers sort out the many names, places, and cultures.
MeredithMcP More than 1 year ago
This book is unlike anything I've ever read. It blew me away. It's wildly creative and set in one of the most richly imagined worlds I've ever encountered. Seriously, the world building in this book is just mind-blowing. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that this book is dark and twisty, and I recommend it to anyone.
DahlELama More than 1 year ago
Gah, this was so good. Not at all my usual type of read, and I'll cop to having the occasional "Wha?" moment because my brain is bad at fantasy, but everything from the world, to the pacing, to the characters, to the incredibly intriguing and unique premise won me over so, so hard. I think I was literally on page, like, 7 when I turned to my husband and said THIS IS SO INTERESTING ALREADY. And...that never stopped. Seriously great, well-written, emotional read. (Plus all kinds of diversity in the characters = major bonus points.)
weetara More than 1 year ago
Wow. Where to begin when discussing this book? It's part fantasy, part contemporary, and with the possession-of-other-people's-bodies element, I'd even say it could claim to be part horror. It's got real-feeling characters of many ethnicities, sexual orientations, and abilities/disabilities. It's got beautiful, evocatively descriptive passages as well as sections full of action and revelations that had me flipping pages with bated breath. In short, this book has one of the more original and creative concepts I've encountered in some time, and is backed up all the way through with terrific writing. I think that teens looking for something different in the world of YA fantasy are really going to embrace it.