Published by St. Martin's Press on November 8th, 2016
Genres: science fiction
What if every life-altering choice you made could split your world into infinite worlds?
Almost fifteen, Alicia is smart and funny with a deep connection to the poet Sylvia Plath, but she’s ultimately failing at life. With a laundry list of diagnoses, she hallucinates different worlds—strange, decaying, otherworldly yet undeniably real worlds that are completely unlike her own with her single mom and one true friend. In one particularly vivid hallucination, Alicia is drawn to a boy her own age named Jax who’s trapped in a dying universe. Days later, her long-lost father shows up at her birthday party, telling her that the hallucinations aren’t hallucinations, but real worlds; she and Jax are bound by a strange past and intertwining present. This leads her on a journey to find out who she is while trying to save the people and worlds she loves. J.Q. Coyle’s The Infinity of You & Me is a wild ride through unruly hearts and vivid worlds guaranteed to captivate.
So I don’t talk about it enough, but I am absolutely obsessed with the multiverse idea. Every decision you make can branch off into a different reality. So there are different worlds with different outcomes. There’s a world where Obama decided to become a poet, for instance. I’m also kind of obsessed with quantum death and how you can’t perceive yourself dying, so if you were to, say, get in a car crash, you would always survive, just on a different plane. I spend way too much time thinking about these two ideas, reading about them, obsessing over other people’s experiences with them. So when a book about the multiverse theory landed on my doorstep, I was really, really excited. I can only think of one other title sort of like this in all of YA.
The Infinity of You & Me started off strong. Alicia has had these weird visions/hallucinations all her life, and they’re starting to cluster, happening multiple times a day instead of once or twice a week. She’s on medication for it, but that’s not helping anymore. It’s disrupting her home life, her ability to thrive at school, and her social life. But when her absentee father shows up on her birthday, things start to both unravel and come together. She learns that these worlds she’s imagining aren’t imaginary at all. Instead, she has the ability to travel between different worlds. She inherited the gift from her father. Now, one of her worlds is dying, her father’s been captured, and she needs to figure out a way to save both.
I kind of loved this concept. Especially when Alicia had to make a tough decision and it created an alternate reality. I also loved how spandrels – those that are able to traverse these different branches – used the different worlds. Scientists who only exist in one reality are coming up with cures for diseases in another. Weapons testing, without hurting those in the Prime (that is, the Real World). I thought this was interesting and a clever way to explain some things that have happened in real life. I’m not going to lie though, some of it was confusing.
The book suffers mainly from being too short, and I hardly ever say this. The Infinity of You & Me is only 250 pages or so, which I didn’t find to be enough time to clearly suss out all the details of this strange world. Very little was adequately explained, and it was hard to keep track of who was from where, who could master which abilities.
One thing I did appreciate a lot was the lack of romance. Alicia is only just turning 15 in this book so I was glad to have escaped the all-encompassing True Love that a book like this could have. Especially from the description, it seemed like this was all about A Boy. And while different Alicias have different romantic experiences, none of them take away from the task at hand, which is saving Alicia’s father and one of the dying worlds he created. At its center, The Infinity of You & Me was a story about family.
If you’re into medical conspiracies, traveling between realities, and latent weird abilities, you should definitely give this book a read. I feel like, between all the different worlds, there is something for everyone between these pages. I’m hoping that there is a sequel, since this just didn’t seem long enough. And while it was confusing, it was also a lot of fast-paced fun while it lasted.