On a recent road trip with my boys (ages 9 and 11), I gave them several choices for audiobooks. Most of them were books I had read reviews for or had recommendations for. After they read the blurbs and listened to the samples, they quickly agreed on Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reeves. This was the one option that I knew little about, I have not had it recommended for them, and I had not read any reviews, but they were interested, so that settled it. Decision made (as I hoped beyond hope that the fact I had heard nothing about this book co-authored by Neil Gaiman was not a bad sign).
Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The story, about a boy named Joey Harkin, who has a tendency to get lost even within his own house, suddenly finds himself in a familiar, yet completely different world. Evidently he has the ability to walk between worlds, which range from purely scientific worlds to worlds completely ruled by magic (and all the worlds in between these two extremes).
I am not familiar with other works by Michael Reaves and therefor am not able to pick out his mark on the story, but I have to say I can definitely spot Gaiman’s style all over in this book. It is interesting to see how he is able to write his sort of surreal dream like stories for all ages. This is definitely a book geared for younger readers, but Gaiman’s style from Neverwhere and Ocean at the End of the Lane, and even American Gods, is there in full force. Even Fortunately, the Milk had it. They are all very different stories, but share that feeling of being between reality and dreaming, in a most positive way, of course.
Joey’s journey through the worlds and the characters he comes across creates a very entertaining, suspenseful and mysterious story for kids. One character/creature looks somewhat like a bubble that communicates by changing the colors that flash and swirl across his being. I have to admit I enjoyed this character/creature as much as my kids. It’s fun seeing such a bizarre thing and realize it is sentient, and is trying to communicate, but also realizing that there is no way to fully understand what the creature is about.
The story moves at a good pace, and has a good bit of humor mixed in. Not once did either of my boys lose interest, and I always take that a huge sign of success. This is, after all, a story aimed to people closer to their age. So, if you are looking for a Science Fiction story for kids, I think this is a great choice, and will definitely be recommending it.