Every decision has the potential to send Alicia into a tailspin where she retreats into her own head and experiences what various therapists have diagnosed as hallucinogenic episodes. Hafeez, Alicia’s best friend, tries to help but neither of them can really explain what’s happening.
She’s been treated for seizures, OCD, delusions, and various other conditions. But none of the medications or therapies have helped. In fact, as Alicia gets closer to her sixteenth birthday the hallucinations have only gotten more vivid and more frequent.
When Alicia’s long-lost father appears at her birthday party, he shocks Alicia by telling her that the hallucinations are real.
Every time Alicia thought she was dreaming she was really traveling to an alternate world including one that is slowly dying where she is drawn to a boy named Jax. Alicia and Jax share a complicated past and a present that spans two worlds. Desperate to understand who and what she is, Alicia will embark on a journey across worlds to find the truth and protect the people and places she holds dear in The Infinity of You & Me (2016) by J. Q. Coyle.
Speculative fiction often grounds supernatural or extraordinary abilities in what initially appears to be a disability. In Alicia’s case, that translates to her belief in the beginning of the novel that she is mentally unstable and consequently needs treatment and medication for a variety of diagnoses. Coyle, unfortunately, compounds the problem here with Alicia’s medications. Alicia repeatedly refers to herself as an “almost junkie” and obsesses over the number of pills she takes. While it makes some sense for her character, it’s also a troubling portrayal of the stigmas surrounding medication for mental illness and something that bears mention and discussion outside the context of the story.
The Infinity of You & Me is grounded in the theory that every decision you make creates a new universe with potentially infinite branches as decisions change. Alicia makes sense of this abstract theory throughout the novel with references and excerpts from Sylvia Plath poems.
This novel’s blend of poetry and science fiction works well to lend an eerie and timeless quality to the writing as Alicia wades through multiple worlds. Alicia is prickly at the beginning of the novel but patient readers will be rewarded with a nuanced and thoughtful narrator.
The Infinity of You & Me is an interesting and unique exploration of the idea of parallel worlds with stark writing that sharply highlights the beauty and danger that Alicia encounters throughout her travels. Sure to appeal to readers looking for a fresh sci-fi adventure.
Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody, Slide by Jill Hathaway, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Planesrunner by Ian McDonald, Hourglass by Myra McEntire, Parallel by Lauren Miller, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, Pivot Point by Kasie West
*A copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*