Angie Kinghorn's Reviews > Parallel Jump

Parallel Jump by Cameron D. Garriepy
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Mar 26, 12


Parallel Jump is Cameron Garriepy’s third novella, and it transports readers to a magical place that will enthrall both teens and adults. Teens will love the steampunk magic of the alternative universe Garriepy so adeptly creates, and adults will find themselves examining and re-examining threads of the complex relationships woven through the narrative.

We meet fourteen year old Jack Snow as he rushes across the streets of Boston, late for baseball practice. He’s in a hurry, but things are still right with his world, until he sees a boy fall out of a tree, landing next to a girl whose red hair has a streak of violet.

Something about the duo (a brother and sister named Phineas and Calliope) intrigues him, and when they ask for his help, Jack obliges. Then things start to get bizarre, when Jack gets pulled (literally) into a world he never imagined. A place where wandering out of one’s yard requires a rucksack of provisions and at least a slingshot for protection, where ravens spy and dirigibles hover, armed with Lumastuns.

Meanwhile, Phineas and Calliope are stuck in Jack’s world, and we watch as they navigate the streets of Boston with foreign (and adorably naive) eyes:

“‘Look! Phin! We can get coffee and pastries at a place called Starbucks!’ Calliope cheered, pointing to an ad-board on the taxi’s roof.”

Each chapter leaps from one world to the other, and as Jack, Phineas, and Calliope try to find their collective ways home, we see that their paths are not as separate as it first appears. Garriepy allows the reader to make assumptions along with her characters, but does it so well that the reader is just as surprised as the characters when certain assumptions turn out to be false.

The story is fast-paced (I read it in one sitting), with no wasted space. Garriepy’s writing is tight and propels the reader forward. She builds tension from the first page, and it crests in a roaring crescendo with the introduction of Pollux Snow.

My only complaint about Parallel Jump is that it ended too soon, leaving me thirsty for more about Jack, his family, and their magical world.
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