You’ve been to Narnia and its rascally cousin, Fillory. But have you been to Belzhar? Met your doppelgänger? Had a chance to redo senior year? These eight recent YAs will take you to places beyond the realm of reality. Whether your preferred destination is a brave new world or one that runs parallel to ours, we’ve got your passport. Come meet the troubled, intrepid heroes and heroines who travel to places both grim and wondrous. And beware the promise of perfection…
Belzhar, by Meg Wolitzer
Tourist: Jam Galluhue, grieving transfer student at a “therapeutic” Vermont boarding school in which the only topic of study in her lit class is Sylvia Plath. There, Jam meets a group of lost souls who’ve also had their lives upended in tragic ways.
Destination: Belzhar (a play on Bell Jar). This hidden world, accessible via an intense journaling assignment, is a realm in which everything Jam has lost, and everything she wants back, returns to her. But at what price?
3:59, by Gretchen McNeil
Tourist: Josie Byrne, who longs for a life in which her boyfriend hasn’t betrayed her and her parents aren’t getting a divorce.
Destination: A potentially perfect parallel universe that overlaps with Josie’s every twelve hours at 3:59. Just how imperfect—and supernaturally horrifying—it is becomes clear to Josie only after she swaps places with her doppelgänger, Jo, who subsequently refuses to swap back.
Parallel, by Lauren Miller
Tourist: Abby Barnes, a cross-country runner who’s determined to study journalism at Northwestern, until a drama class her senior year leads to a role in a big-budget Hollywood film. One problem: it’s not the life she wants.
Destination: A parallel life in which her intended plans come to fruition—via a cosmically entangled “do over” of her 17th year. Every action she takes simultaneously affects her college experience in unexpected ways.
Otherbound, by Corinne Duyvis
Tourist: Nolan, a teenage boy living in Arizona who suffers from blackouts, and even lost a limb due to such an incident. However, his struggle isn’t due to epilepsy, as his doctors believe; when he closes his eyes, he’s transported to the mind of another person.
Destination: Dunelands, the world of Amara. She’s a courageous, mute servant who protects a cursed princess by sublimating the princess’s pain into her own body. Initially, Nolan is helpless to do anything but observe Amara’s life. Eventually, he’s able to control her actions, with dire consequences.
Flip, by Martyn Bedford
Tourist: 14-year-old Londoner Alex Gray, a fan of the Killers and Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, lies in the ICU in a persistent vegetative state after being hit by a car. His soul has other ideas, however; it “jumps ship, taking its chances in the ocean before the vessel sank.” Six months pass, and Alex awakes in a new body.
Destination: The body of Philip (“Flip”) Garamond, a boy born on the same day in the same place as Alex. Heartbreak follows as Alex desperately tries to reconnect with his true family and friends, all of whom have no idea he’s awake. Meanwhile, Flip languishes in the coma meant for Alex.
Through to You, by Emily Hainsworth
Tourist: Camden Pike, a lovelorn high school quarterback who struggles with a knee injury, a tough family life, and guilt over the death of his girlfriend, Viv.
Destination: Another dimension, in which opposite realities hold sway. Most importantly, Viv is alive, so when Camden has the chance to be with her again, he grabs it. But the truth about “both” Vivs is more complex and painful than Camden is willing to acknowledge.
Magonia, by Maria Dahvana Headley (coming April 28)
Tourist: Aza Ray, whose rare, incurable lung disease makes breathing feel like drowning. She’s also begun to develop romantic feelings for her kind and loyal best friend, Jason.
Destination: Magonia, a fantasy world filled with magical creatures on the brink of war. Here, Ava is not sickly, but extremely powerful, and must decide which side—Magonia or earth—she pledges fealty to.
A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray
Tourist: Marguerite Caine, whose father, a physicist and inventor, is murdered. The killer, Paul, escapes into an alternate dimension. Marguerite follows him.
Destination: Multiple parallel worlds (travel to which is made possible by the Firebird, an invention of Marguerite’s parents). While interacting with Paul in a variety of universes, Marguerite comes to doubt his guilt, and a seemingly fated connection grows between them.