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A Crack in the Line
Synopses & Reviews
The mystery has begun
It's been two years since his mother died in a terrible train crash, and Alaric's life continues to unravel. He and his father are barely on speaking terms, and Withern Rise, their Victorian mansion, is in shambles. Trapped at home during a blizzard, Alaric stumbles into a parallel world; a reality in which his mother is still alive. There's only one problem ... someone else is living his life.
Naia tries not to dwell on the horrible accident two years ago that nearly took her mother away. Now that life with her parents in Withern Rise has returned to normal, Naia thinks the worst is behind her. But during a freak snowstorm she's confronted by a stranger. Why does this boy look like her? Why does he have the same thoughts? The same memories? Who is he?
Alaric's and Naia's discovery of each other sets off an electrifying chain of events. And as their lives - and lifelines - entwine, the two teenagers uncover a truth with the power to rearrange, or even erase, their very existence.
"Alternate realities are the theme of this gloomily introspective novel. Exactly two years after his mother was killed in a railway accident, English teenager Alaric finds a way into a version of his life in which his mother has not only survived the train crash, but gone on to win a tidy sum in the lottery. What's more, in this not-quite-parallel world, Alaric himself exists as a girl named Naia ('We're variants of a single individual,' as Naia puts it). Once the two 16-year-olds meet, they cannot resist spending the next few days exploring each other's worlds. Alaric mostly just envies Naia, while she does what she can to help her unhappy counterpart (she even tidies a few rooms in his version of their home). Back in his own reality, Alaric and his aunt set to work readying the house for the arrival of Alaric's future stepmother. Fascinating as it is, unfortunately the notion of multiple universes is not enough of a plot to sustain an entire novel. Readers who have themselves experienced losses (and therefore may have a heightened interest in pondering worlds where things have turned out differently) are unlikely to find much comfort in Naia's summing up of what seems to be the book's world view: 'Such a terrible loss would surely dull your mind, make you very inward looking and sorry for yourself. A dulled mind was less likely to find inspiration or to be intrigued by much beyond its own very limited horizons.' Ages 13-up." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This gripping thriller about a boy and a girl who are the same person--but not quite--and who are living the same life takes readers on a journey into the shifting nature of identity, time, space, and the cracks that can appear in a train rail, a lifeline, or a family tree.
About the Author
Robert T. Jeschonek's short stories have appeared in anthologies published by DAW (a science fiction and fantasy imprint of Penguin), several Star Trek anthologies published by Pocket Books, and in numerous print and online magazines. He has also written stories for DC Comics and is working on a Twitter serial called "Shave," forthcoming in 2011. For more information, please visit him on the web at www.thefictioneer.com. This is Robert's first novel. He lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
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