(Mrs.) Who? (Mrs.) Whatsit? (Mrs.) Which? Is this a novel by beloved author Madeline L’Engle or is it an Abbott and Costello routine? As kids, we loved the adventure of finding out the answers to all of these questions as we time-traveled and jumped around the universe with Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin. There was just enough wonder and mystery still associated with science and physics before the school system beat it out of us. But have hope! Young readers looking for more eye-opening adventures might enjoy the following books:
- The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day by Christopher Edge
What could be worse than waking up alone on your birthday? Well, maybe waking up alone with no idea where your family has mysteriously vanished. But it’s not just her family… the entire universe seems to be missing. As Maisie tries to unravel the mystery, she finds herself plunged into a series of mind-bending scientific experiments that challenge her understanding of reality and the universe. While the story is told through Maisie’s perspective, Edge includes scientific concepts and theories, making it an extra thought-provoking read. Through her journey, Maisie discovers the existence of parallel universes and alternate realities.
- Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Sal Vidón is a middle school student with a talent for magic. When Sal transfers to a new school in Miami, he befriends Gabi Reál, a brilliant and no-nonsense classmate who is not impressed by his tricks. As Sal and Gabi become friends, they discover that they both have a talent for manipulating the fabric of reality. Gabi is able to see into other dimensions, while Sal’s “magic tricks” are actually pulling objects from other universes. Together, they use their abilities to help their friends and family, but they soon discover that their meddling has unintended consequences and they must work to repair the damage they have caused.
- When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
We saved the best recommendation for last. When You Reach Me is an homage to A Wrinkle in Time and it is EVERYTHING. Miranda already has enough on her plate as she struggles to navigate adolescence, and that’s before she starts receiving mysterious notes from an anonymous sender. The notes, which initially seem to be random and confusing, gradually become more detailed and personal. The sender knows things about Miranda’s life that only a close friend could know. As Miranda tries to unravel the mystery, she finds herself drawn into a web of secrets and lies that threaten to upend her world. It’s almost as if the notes may be coming from someone who knows the future.
Teens and adults ready for college-level sci-fi hijinks might try some of these titles:
- Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
There’s an extremely fine line between magic and science and, somehow, the children under Miss West’s care keep crossing over it. Nancy has returned to the “real” world after spending time in a fantastical realm. It changed her. Thankfully, Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is a boarding school specifically designed for children who have experience similar journeys into other worlds. As Nancy settles into the school she befriends other students who have returned with strange and wonderful powers. There’s a boy who can speak to the dead. There’s a girl who was raised by vampires. But none of the students are prepared when a series of murders occur. Now, these fantastical students must work together to uncover the killer’s identity and stop them before it’s too late.
- The Gunslinger (the Dark Tower series) by Stephen King
Did we say book recommendations? We meant series recommendations. The King of Horror graces us with this fantasy epic consisting of eight (original) books that follow the quest of the last gunslinger, Roland Deschain. Roland is on a journey to reach the Dark Tower, a mythical structure that stands at the nexus of all universes, in order to overcome the darkness that threatens to consume his world. In The Gunslinger Roland must track down the Man in Black, a powerful sorcerer who holds the key to reaching the tower. He travels through a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, battling mutants and demons, only to face his greatest challenge: his past relationships. The series blends together fantasy, horror, westerns, and science fiction tropes to create one sprawling multi-dimensional universe.
- Mirror Dance (the Vorkosigan Saga) by Lois McMaster Bujold
It’s an oldie-but-a-goodie, okay? Although nearly everything else about the trappings and themes of this work of space opera differs from L’Engle’s Quintet, when distilled down to its essence this book is perhaps the ultimate work on loving and saving your baby brother from the clutches of evil exploitation — no matter how difficult he might make it and how hard he might fight you. The story drops you into the middle of the Vorkosigan saga by Bujold but she does such an exceptional job setting the scene and sketching the characters that even readers new to the Vorkosiverse will likely be able to pick up from here. If you are a person who must start from the beginning, pick up The Warrior’s Apprentice and read your way to this installment in the series. You won’t be disappointed either way.
Want to time travel back to the past? We’ve got a list of more classics that have withstood the test of time:
This blog is created by Hannah and Ella in conjunction with the These Books Made Me podcast, a Prince George’s County Memorial Library System production. Check out the corresponding episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.