This novel by Christopher Edge is highly anticipated, humorous tale written in part to help connect students with STEM science concepts follows the adventures of a boy in search of his mother in a parallel universe after her cancer-related passing, a journey that leads to surprising discoveries.
Grades 4-7 Albie ’s parents are brilliant scientists, so when his mom dies of cancer, he turns to science to assuage his grief—namely, quantum physics. With the help of a rudimentary understanding of the theory of Schrödinger’s Cat, a banana (they’re mildly radioactive), a box, and his late mother’s quantum laptop, Albie builds a device that transports him to parallel universes, and he hopes to find one in which his mother is still alive. Albie ’s machine works, but he mostly finds alternate versions of himself and his father, and experiencing ways his life could have turned out differently leads him to appreciate his own universe all the more, even if it means living in a world without his mom. Edge offers an artful, touching exploration of grief dressed in clever sci-fi trappings. Though the ending is a bit tidy, Albie ’s realizations about his father, himself, and the importance of not running away from tough feelings ring true. Albie ’s earnest, geeky first-person narrative, inflected with references to science and classic sci-fi, will be especially appealing to middle-grade fans of the genre. — Hunter, Sarah (Reviewed 3/15/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 14, p61)