Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Journal of Curious Letters #1: The 13th Reality by James Dashner

The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality, #1)My name is Tick, and I may have gotten myself into more trouble than I can handle. That first letter said danger was in my future, and it said I could stop the whole thing by burning it. I didn't. Each letter after that has left me confusing messages, and I've been attacked by hundreds of stinging insects, ambushed by a screaming wraith, and had a rental car crash and explode into flames. The letters give me clues about something I must do on May 6, but I don't have it all worked out. I'm supposed to stomp my foot in a cemetery at 9:00 pm, but I haven't worked out the magic words yet. It all has something to do with quantum physics and alternate realities. The 8-foot tall woman and 3-foot tall man haven't been much help, but everyone seems to fear Mistress Jane. I haven't met her yet, but I guess she's the one responsible for the exploding car. I've found two other people in the world receiving the same clues as me, a girl in Italy and a boy in Florida, and May 6 is fast-approaching. I know my whole life will change on that date, but I have no idea what will happen.

Most of this book is spent solving the clues in the twelve letters. An unusual difference from other novels is that Tick actually asks his father for help, and he does! How many heroes in other books set out to save the world while keeping everything a secret from their families? Tick comes off as a simply average boy, while Sofia is brash and competitive. Paul is like a laid-back surfer dude, and a fourth character joins the book after May 6. The author presents the different realities like branches on a tree. Have you ever wondered what might have happened if you'd made different choices in your life? The trunk of the tree is the reality we're aware of based on those choices, but the branches are alternate realities arising from alternate decisions we might have made. All of the realities are occurring at the same time. The characters learn that this power of choice is literally the greatest power in the world. It's an imaginative concept, and I enjoyed the book. I felt like the plot took a little too long in getting to May 6, but the characters, mystery, and twists kept me interested. Give it a shot!

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