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Otherbound Hardcover – June 17, 2014
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From School Library Journal
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
Nolan lives two lives. On earth he struggles with what everyone thinks is epilepsy, but when he closes his eyes, he is pulled into the mind of Amara, a mute servant girl in another world, charged with protecting a princess in hiding. When Nolan discovers how to control Amara, she is furious, but working together might lead to freedom for both of them. Debut author Duyvis has written a nice twist on the classic body-snatchers 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. Some elements of the magic that brings them together are unexplained, and the open ending might frustrate readers who want everything tied up in a neat bow. But readers who want to be left thinking after a story is done will appreciate this stand-alone title. Grades 8-11. --Snow Wildsmith
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This is a review I should have written right after reading this book. I really enjoyed it and can't remember all the details, but the emotions are coming back to me. This book has a lot of wonderful representation. The relationships are complex. This book deals with the idea of reliance on someone else to live. The idea of only being kept alive because you are helping someone "better" than you live.
Sign language is featured in this book. It was very interesting to read about. Sexuality is also shown in a different way. Nolan is a virgin, but has experienced/seen Amara having sex.
I liked how the concept of different worlds and travelers between those worlds was seen as spirits.
Families are portrayed well in this book. Handicaps effect the whole family. Sibling bonds are shown.
The ending is also great!
I give this book a 5/5! It's a fantasy book with representation. There need to be more books like this in the world!
Most recent customer reviews
This is a very meeeh book and I didn't particularly want it to be, but it failed me in every way, really.Read more