Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Review: Under Shifting Glass by Nicky Singer

Book: Under Shifting Glass
Author: Nicky Singer
Published: 2013
Source: review copy from publisher via Edelweiss

When her beloved great-aunt dies, Jess feels as if she’s gone into a tailspin. With her mother and stepfather totally focused on her twin baby brothers, and her best friend gradually pulling away in favor of boys and popularity, there’s nobody left who really gets her. She feels lost, overlooked, and helpless to change any of the big things happening in her life. Then, in a desk she inherited from her great-aunt, she discovers a bottle with a strange mist inside. What is it? Where did Aunt Edie get it? And mostly importantly, what connection does it have with her baby brothers, born conjoined and fighting for their lives in the hospital?

I’ll be upfront and say that I fell in love with this book, mainly due to the no-answers exploration of spiritual questions. However, it wasn’t perfect. The ending was a little too pat, everything slotting neatly into place when the point of the book prior to that was that there are a lot of mysteries out there and very few of them can be solved so easily and neatly.

But there were a lot of things going for this book anyway, even with the ending. Jess rings very true as a lonely girl whose life is changing at top speed, and every character has a little something more to them than you’d expect. I especially liked the resolution of her relationship with her best friend. As I said before, Jess also delves into spiritual and religious questions, visiting a Buddhist temple and thinking deeply about her own Christian theology for the first time. This book won’t be for everyone, but for a kid who wants to start tackling some of the mysteries of the universe, give it a try.

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