Title: Otherworld (Otherworld #1)
Authors: Jason Segal, Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2017 (Oct 31)
Genre: YA Science Fiction
So Otherworld doesn’t have my “favorite” cover in the world…it’s kinda bland and hard to tell what you’re looking at…there’s a really cool one I didn’t get so this is the cover on my copy:
Me, the cover snob that I am – I wish I had this version…
If anyone has this one, let me know…this is Segal’s pic from Twitter and I love it!
But we all know not to judge a book by its cover. Right! 😂🤯
I’m glad I didn’t in this instance though. I’m glad I went with my gut. I knew Jason Segal was a master. He’s HILARIOUS. And his writing style is one of my faves. Normally I don’t love reading from a male POV, or if I do, it’s because the POV shifts back and forth from the girl to the guy. In Otherworld, it’s a strictly male protag….and I LOVE HIM.
I gotta say, the writing is killer in this book. The tone is sarcastic but funny; you truly feel this is the voice of a teenage male with some issues and fear, but he puts on a strong facade only we can see through as the reader. Our MC is likable and relatable. He makes the whole story work.
Let me break down Otherworld…a game that’s not a game, and a book you might overlook (and that would truly be a shame because you’d be missing out on an amazing read. I can say this with total confidence: I’ve had a slight book hangover from the awesomeness that is Otherworld.
Simon has a good life. Raised by wealthy parents, he doesn’t want for much, but the one thing he does want, he cannot seem to have. He’s got the exclusive Otherworld gear at two grand a set, and he charged an extra set for Kat, the girl who has been avoiding him since he came back from boarding school. For $4000 on his parent’s credit card, all he wants to do is see her, talk to her about why she’s avoiding him. She’s his best friend, and since he came back she’s been hanging with loser kids and acting out. Simon knows something is wrong: she’s been his best friend and only confidante as a child of nannies. Kat is the adventure in his drab life. With a giant nose he calls “the kishka,” he knows he isn’t someone she could love…right?
When an accident happens at a warehouse party, Kat is diagnosed with “locked-in syndrome,” a comatose state where she can hear around her, but she cannot move on her own. The developers of Otherworld, the game Simon played before his parents saw the charges and broke his gear, have a solution: it’s simply a disc that attaches to the back of Kat’s head, and she can be a participant in a study that might cure her. She’s not just in virtual reality…she’s in a new reality.
And Simon wants in. He needs to see Kat. He can’t stand seeing her small frame lying in her hospital bed, unable to communicate with the world around her.
The technology is safe, the developers insist. It’s not Otherworld, where you are playing from home and can still sense your surroundings. Kat is immersed in a paradise, wanting for nothing.
While Simon watches the developers reveal their plans to make Otherworld accessible to the world, he gets an idea: he needs to get a disc like Kat. He knows he can bring her out of her coma. And he’s played Otherworld – he was one of the beta testers. He can save her.
But Kat’s not in Otherworld…she’s somewhere much more insidious. And Simon is the only one that can save her.
Here’s a cool trailer for Otherworld that makes you want to read this book!
This is such a good book…I wish there were more resources on the web that I could use to demonstrate how amazing this was!
Is it Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes…and no. There’s some graphic language that cannot be ignored. The F word being the most common of course. Now, we all know that teens swear, so it’s not surprising to see it in YA. In a classroom-setting, however, this can definitely rile up educators and parents. Sex is discussed as Otherworld is touted as a place where “anything goes.” A playland for those who can afford the gear, one can be as hedonistic as he pleases. I think this is an asset instead of a hindrance to the book. But one must be careful. So I would suggest if wanting to use it for classroom reading, a note should be provided home to alert parents to the benefits of the book, or maybe a clean edition could be issued that just removes the swearing. For now, I’d recommend junior and senior reading only to prevent issues with younger readers at home. Just my advice.
So for current class use, I would give Otherworld ★★★☆☆, just to be on the safe side.
As I stated, it could be used, but remember to be creative…the moral and ethical complications of a world with no rules is a great discussion area. However, with those topics, words and potentially inflammatory language could be a hard hurdle to overcome to get it used in the curriculum. I definitely would like to give it a try.
Finally, a Lexile-rated book! Lexile has Otherworld at a HL700L, which means though a 12 year old could understand the reading, it’s more geared toward a higher level reader (hence the HL designation). The age range recommended is 12 to 17. Personally, I wouldn’t think it wise to give this one to a 12 year old. I think the latter end of the Range is best, with 16 being my cap at youngest reader. As you know, these are just my personal guidelines: just because a 12 year old can read a book, doesn’t mean they should read that book. I honestly would not have been surprised if I had found this in the adult science fiction section. The age of the characters does not solely dictate reader age range. But I do like that YA has some mature choices for the older readers. I would definitely give this one to a gamer fan or even a fan of dystopias.
If you can’t tell by my personal gushing, I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY LOVED OTHERWORLD.
If I could give six stars out of five, I would. But I don’t believe in 110% as there is only 100% of something: it does not exist past that! 😂
But it seems unfair to put this book with some of my other five star reads, because it blows most of them out of the water. I could not put this book down. I had a book hangover that made it hard to start anything else. My judgement was clouded for sure. It even took me time to write this because I just didn’t want to move on. I need the sequel. I NEED MORE SIMON. And Segal needs to write more books (I suppose I should include Miller in this sentiment too as the coauthor).
So here’s my overall for Otherworld, though it hardly does it justice.
Stellar. Awesome. Amazing. (*cough needs a better cover cough*)
Go get this book. I demand it.
**PS I am going to a Con in two weeks so I’ll try to update during that trip – it will mostly be Con-related info…so I’m going to try to post up more reviews before I go. Prepare for that because I want to bring you all the cool Con content as I’m there!**