Ash Bowman is just a normal high school student who lives in an average house with an average family and goes to an average school. His passion for football has led him to be the defensive tackle on his school’s football team, the Tibbetsville Tsunamis. However, as the football season starts, Ash notices that his tackles seem to change the world. Soon, he learns that he has become the center of the universe and that he can control events in the past and even shift time. Through his transformations between parallel universes, he becomes humbled and gains awareness of many societal issues when the societal opinion on segregation, his sexuality, and even his gender changes. However, his clueless and reckless utilization of his power at first leads to a possibility of a correction by the universe, which would result in a cleansing of life from Earth. With interdimensional beings and his friends, whose proximity effect allows them to retain some memories of what had happened in previous universes, he must return the universe to its original state and revert his blind mistakes.
The book created a good mix of moods, being hilarious at some points, while also being very intriguing at other points. The details that patched up the switches between the universes was excellently written and appealed to me the most. Ash’s narration made him sound like a friend, which draws in the reader further. Most of all, I thought that Neal Shusterman had a very original concept for the book, which had a huge potential. I personally feel that such a short book does not and could not possibly encapsulate so many controversial social issues that Neal Shusterman was trying to create awareness of, though the attempt was admirable. Despite this, the book is entertaining nonetheless and I strongly suggest this book!
For me, this book is memorable due to its one-of-a-kind idea of alternate universes. While this idea might seem elementary to this book as science fiction, the author did a splendid job designing details that all connect together like an intricate web. Most of all, the book provoked thought, and readers were encouraged to take away important lessons from the book.
Reviewed by Qingyuan, Twin Hickory Library