Published December 1, 2020
Have you ever dreamt of an alternate world? A world full of second chances and lost dreams, found again. Just like the one Frank has stumbled upon.
Frank, an eleven-year-old science nerd, fashions a hiding place in his closet with his favorite things. He calls it the “Aurora Shell”, where he retreats whenever he feels upset or scared. The day he learns that he was adopted, he discovers an empty space behind his Big Bang Theory poster, in the Aurora Shell.
He decides to crawl in and find out what awaits him at the end of this dark tunnel. There, he meets an incredibly cheerful kid, Andy, who becomes his first true friend. Soon after they realize that this is not just a simple passage, but it is a bridge that connects two parallel universes! Frustrated that he was unwanted by his biological parents in his own world, Frank decides to take his chance in this new universe to gain acceptance. Maybe this time his parents would welcome him and love him?
Grabbing their backpacks, the two friends set out on a quest to find Frank’s birth parents in Andy’s universe. In the beginning of their journey, everything looks brand new and astonishing to Frank. But this adventure will hold dangers they never could have imagined. Will they be able to survive the grave challenges and find Frank’s family in the end? Was their secret going to cause them trouble?
I’m definitely a fan of stories about friendship and family, so even the idea of this book held a lot of appeal for me. I liked that Frank’s family isn’t perfect– they’re going through some hard times, and that impacts their relationships with one another. It also seemed cool that Frank and Andy had very different personalities and ways of dealing with things.
While some of the dialogue was a little bit awkwardly worded, I thought the banter between Frank and Andy added some fun to the story. The pacing slowed a bit toward the middle of the book, and I was surprised by some of the directions the story took, but the speed picked up again toward the end.
On the whole, I think it’s a sweet, if a little bit dark, tale of friendship, family and the multiverse. Ha.
Recommended for Ages 9 up.
I think the characters are white, based on the illustrations.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used about a half dozen times.
Reference to praying. At one point Frank’s mom says, “Thank God…”
Violent Content – Trigger Warning
Some brief descriptions of domestic violence and child abuse.
A couple of adults drink alcohol and behave cruelly when drunk.
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