YA vs. the Multiverse

You know how it is. You’re just moseying along, minding your own business, when you stumble into a whole multiverse situation. Universes everywhere. They look the same, but some things are slightly different, and…ugh. Should’ve stayed in bed today and read instead.

These 5 YA novels take that concept—when universes collide—and do awesome, awesome things with it. And then do awesome things with it in a parallel universe. And then…

Time for a reality trip.

Parallel, by Lauren Miller
Abby Barnes thinks she’s living the dream. She has just been cast in a Hollywood blockbuster alongside a hot A-list star, and puts her journalism degree on hold to take advantage of the chance. Then an earthquake hits, and when Abby wakes up, she’s a Yale student. No movie, no journalism. She has no idea what’s happening. As she starts to work out that she’s in another universe, she enlists the help of her best friend, a science student at Yale, to get back to her own. Meanwhile, she still remembers her former life, and is accessing new memories that aren’t hers. It’s a fun, pacy thriller about the road not taken, free will, making choices, and finding out who you’re meant to be.

Relativity, by Cristin Bishara
This one dives right in to eight possible multiverses. Ruby Wright has been through a lot. So much loss, grief, and heartache. When she discovers a wormhole that takes her to eight different versions of her world, it’s super tempting for her to find a version where things are happier. Where people that have died are still alive. Where terrible choices never happened. Trouble is, it all comes at a cost. Math and science are compellingly woven into this tale, and Bishara is never afraid to take us equally deep into string theory and the nature of loss.

Tandem, by Anna Jarzab
Tandem sprinkles its parallel universes with wars, princesses, rebellions, and, yes, complicated love…triangles? Quandrangles? Parallelograms? Things get messy when there are identical versions of everybody, especially when you have to deal with the fate of the universe resting on your shoulders. Which is exactly what Sasha Lawson is facing. Her grandmother used to tell her stories of other worlds with girls just like her. Spoiler: they were more than just stories.

Dissonance, by Erica O’Rourke
In this intricate and thrilling story, Del is a Walker. She has the power to move freely between universes; her job is to help keep the multiverse in harmony. Every time people make decisions, new universes are created with their echo selves, following their other life choices. Del starts getting curious in some of these less harmonious worlds, especially the ones where her crush is actually interested in her. Following that path is dangerous—Del knows it—but she starts to discover it’s even more dangerous than she could have realized, as she stumbles across a terrible secret threatening every universe. Hard choices alert!

Fair Coin, by E.C. Myers
Ephraim is shocked when he comes home from school to find his mother has attempted suicide. But not as shocked as when he realizes it’s because she had to identify his dead body earlier that day. Ephraim finds a coin in the belongings of his deceased dopplegänger…a coin that grants you a wish when you flip it—i.e., lets you change something about the world, which (as you know I know you know) means a new world is created. And not in a good way. The wishes start going disastrously wrong, the consequences get exponentially worse, and Ephraim has to desperately track his way across multiple worlds in order to save the day.

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