Summary (from Goodreads):
“A heartfelt, beautifully written novel of love, loss, and math—perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Sharon M. Draper.
Ever since twelve-year-old Charlie Price’s mom died, he feels like his world has been split into two parts. Before included stargazing and Mathletes and Saturday scavenger hunts with his family. After means a dad who’s completely checked out, comically bad dinners, and grief group that’s anything but helpful. It seems like losing Mom meant losing everything else he loved, too.
Just when Charlie thinks things can’t get any worse, his sister, Imogen, starts acting erratically—missing school and making up lies about their mother. But everything changes when one day he follows her down a secret passageway in the middle of her bedroom and sees for himself.
Imogen has found a parallel world where Mom is alive!
There’s hot cocoa and Scrabble and scavenger hunts again and everything is perfect . . . at first. But something doesn’t feel right. Whenever Charlie returns to the real world, things are different, and not in a good way. And Imogen wants to spend more and more time on the other side. It’s almost as if she wants to leave the real world for good. If Charlie doesn’t uncover the truth, he could lose himself, the true memory of their mother, and Imogen . . . forever.”
As you know, I am drawn to books about grief and grieving and this book is an excellent one. It’s smart and sweet and full of heart. And it poses the question about what exactly you’d be willing to do or give up in order to spend time with a loved one again.
It’s not like Pet Sematary, though. The loved ones aren’t evil or mean, necessarily…but they are different, and they do survive on memories. And you can’t be in two places at once, so you either have to be with the dead person you love or with the people and family who are alive. And of course the more time you spend with the dead person, the less likely you are to be able to leave and return to the real world.
I completely adored this book and am excited to see what Jennifer Maschari writes next.