The Other Side of Infinity
Joan F. Smith
Feiwel & Friends
Published April 25, 2023
About The Other Side of Infinity
THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END meets THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT in this YA novel by Joan F. Smith, where a teen uses her gift of foreknowledge to help a lifeguard save a drowning man―only to discover that her actions have suddenly put his life at risk.
It was supposed to be an ordinary day at the pool, but when lifeguard Nick hesitates during a save,
seventeen-year-old December uses her gift of foreknowledge to rescue the drowning man instead. The action comes at a cost. Not only will Nick and December fall in love, but also, she envisions that his own life is now at risk. The other problem? They’re basically strangers.
December embarks on a mission to save Nick’s life, and to experience what it feels like to fall in love―something she’d formerly known she’d never do. Nick, battling the shame of screwing up the rescue when he’s heralded as a community hero, resolves to make up for his inaction by doing December a major solid and searching for her mother, who went missing nine years ago.
As they grow closer, December’s gift starts playing tricks, and Nick’s family gets closer to an ugly truth about him. They both must learn what it really means to be a hero before time runs out.
I can definitely see the comparisons to both THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END and THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. In TBDATE, the story carries this feeling of an inevitable march toward doom. I think this book captured that pretty well in some pivotal scenes. So I felt the comparison the most at those moments.
One of the things that was tricky about this book for me was how internal both characters are. We spend a lot of time inside December’s mind, sifting possibilities and memories and thinking through what-ifs. With Nick, we spend a lot of time diving into what it means to have dyslexia, how he experiences the world, and how he feels about it.
I liked that up-close look at what they were thinking and feeling, but sometimes it did leave me feeling disconnected from what was happening in the scenes of the story.
I think Maverick was actually my favorite character. He’s bright and silly and added a lot of pep to what is otherwise a pretty serious story. I also liked Nick and December as characters. Nick really cares about doing the right thing. December wrestled with vulnerability, which felt very easy to identify with.
On the whole, I think the premise is really engaging, and I like the inner life of both characters, but I wish I was able to connect more to them in the way they related to other characters.
I could see readers who enjoyed THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera or BEFORE TAKEOFF by Adi Alsaid enjoying this one.
Content Notes for The Other Side of Infinity
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Nick has dyslexia. December’s uncle dates men. December’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s. Two minor characters, both girls, start dating.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used very infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl.
December can see the future in most instances. (She has some blind spots.)
Nick and December help a drowning man. He hit his head and then passed out in the water. They perform CPR as a team and revive him. December injures her arm on a nail and needs stitches. December knows her grandmother’s death is coming soon. An object falls, fatally injuring someone.
Some references to drug addiction. December has a relative who was an addict.
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