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One teen’s incredible journey may just blow his father’s mind…

Fourteen-year-old Bernard thinks outside the box. The only problem is that neither his school nor his ultra-rational physicist father appreciate his unique ideas. When he reacts to a stressful situation at school by mooning the class, his suspension sends him straight to his father’s workplace. After his frustrated father leaves him unattended, Bernard does what any teen would do: wander into the particle accelerator and accidentally get transported through a wormhole!

It doesn’t take long for Bernard to realize he’s in deep trouble. Not only did the wormhole drop him in the middle of a civil war over a depleted resource, but the battle is actually taking place inside his father’s brain. Bernard has one chance to save the dying side of his father’s creative brain from the tyrannical left side. Can he use his outside-the-box thinking to save his father’s life?

Brainwalker is a young adult sci-fi fantasy novel that turns the world of neuroscience on its head. If you like incredible fantasy worlds, fast-paced entertainment, and the human mind, then you’ll love Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast’s amazing journey inside the brain.

Buy Brainwalker to help the mind survive today!

260 pages, ebook

First published October 1, 2016

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Robyn Mundell

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 249 reviews
Profile Image for Courtney.
126 reviews60 followers
February 24, 2018
"Isn’t that what it means to be a scientist? To push the boundaries of the unknown? To bravely, actively explore the enormity of our universe ?”

14- year old Bernard always seems to be the black sheep wherever he goes. He's a creative and free thinker living in a world full of people who mainly use logic and cold-hard facts to live by. Raised by scientists, he aspires to become one too, but how can he when he can't even think up a proper science fair project? All of his ideas seem to be too "farfetched" and "unrealistic" to be taken seriously. Not only does that put a strain on his school life, but on his home life, too.

Bernard's father has an important job at a particle accelerator (AKA an "Atom-smasher") and Bernard's dreams of seeing it finally come true. All his life Bernard saw his father as the most "put together" person he knew, but his perspective changes during the unexpected trip to his work place. His father was always a stickler for the rules, but it seems he's become even more so after his wife passed 6 months ago. His father's drive to be as precise as possible seems to have put a block on his creative thinking. His lack of new ideas has put him at a serious risk of losing his job.

That's when Bernard's out-of-the-box thinking really kicks in. He comes up with a totally rash (and very dangerous) idea to not only help his father, but to hopefully prove to the world that he may be on to something great with his "crazy" theory. With out giving much thought to how badly things could end up, he runs through A.L.I.C.E (the atom-smasher) and ends up falling through a *rabbit* wormhole, just as his father is about to stop him. So, where does he end up?

Bernard finds himself in a place called the Brainiverse , populated by alien-like people called Holons, that are split into two groups: the Intuit's and the Reezon's. This entire world is alive and runs on a sustenance called Energeia, but whats even more interesting is that the Brainiverse exists in his father's head! When he befriends a couple of Intuit's, he discovers that their source of life is being depleted and soon the Intuit's will become extinct and the part of his father's brain they live in will shut down completely. He knows he has to help his new friends find more Energeia to save their universe and ultimately his father's brain, but what could he possibly do to help?

Brainwalker by Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast is a sci-fi story geared towards middle-grade and YA readers with a love for science and an interest in the human brain.

This book is perfect for young readers who might be interested in learning more about the human brain in an exciting and adventurous way. These authors blend fact with fiction so well, they'll have you questioning whether it's possible if parallel universes really do exist, even if they might be in someone else's head, and what it might be like to travel to them. The world building is so unique and imaginative and I really loved the illustrations that helped bring this story to life even more. The writing is easy to follow, and no matter how crazy one of the chracters' ideas may have been, I was able to keep up. This book also has tons of comedic parts that made me laugh, and I loved the refrences to Alice in Wonderland, too.

I really liked Bernard as a character. Despite always feeling like an outsider, he stayed true to himself and never really let the critics in his life discourage him from what he loves most. Balisides, Adhista and Philemone were another few of my favories, but I wish they (along with some other secondary characters) were built up just a little more. The villains in this book kept things interesting and created some intense moments, but I would have liked a better understanding of them too. However, I know more often than not, younger readers want a book that gets straight to the point, rather than having to spend multiple pages reading about character build up. So, I think these might be minor problems, because you do learn just enough about them to care.

One other problem that I had was I felt there wasn't enough emotion during certain parts. For example: Bernad's mother had just passed away 6 months ago, but he and his father talk about it as if it happened years before this story takes place. And yes, he does mention that he and his father miss her, but you don't really feel it . There were another couple of situations where something big happened to other characters, and the MC's would talk about being upset by it, and they would show their anger, but they never really mourned or grieved. For a 14-year old he goes through a lot of emotional stuff and I would have liked to see how he felt, rather than being told about it.

This book doesn't leave off on a cliffhanger, but it does leave you wondering about the future. How has this changed Bernard and his father in their work/school and home life? What will happen to the holons in the Brainiverse? Will Bernard keep experimenting with wormholes, and will he visit the Brainiverse or any other universes? I think there's plenty of opportunity for a second book, and if that happens I would be happy to read it.

Overall, this is a great sci-fi story for young readers. It's filled with exciting adventures and action, scientific experiments, parallel universes and character growth. I think Brainwalker sends a few important messages to young readers - which is great. This book is currently on KU, so grab it for free while you still can!

**** Thank you to Booktasters for introducing me to the authors of this book, and thank you to Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast for letting me read and review your work. ****
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,559 reviews2,312 followers
April 30, 2019
Fun story!

Brainwalker is a clever and fun book that takes the middle grade reader or teen reader on a wild ride into a world inside a brain! A boy that can't seem to stay out of trouble goes to work with his scientist dad and things go sideways from there! Some crazy way his mind gets out in his dad's brain. But the kid isn't alone there, he meets several characters in the Brainverse. He has to help these characters to save his dad!
July 13, 2018
I was sent this book for review. It is about a boy named Bernard who aspires to be a scientist. His mother died in a experiment and his father has ceased to be creative ever since. Bernard gets into a lot of trouble at school and on one ocasion that he gets suspended his dad takes him to work with him to a science lab. Upon exploring the facilities Bernard gets sucked into his fathers brain via a wormhole. He discovers an alternate universe that needs his help to restore itself and his fathers life depends on it.
I really really enjoyed this book because it’s concept was so original and nothing like I’ve read before. Bernard was a very normal character and a lot of things in this book really made me think about who we are as people and what controls us. The adventure that was lives in this book was extremely enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and wants to read something original.
Profile Image for Giota (the reader).
487 reviews106 followers
October 10, 2016
I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

First of all, as you can see from my rating, I quite enjoyed reading about the adventures of Bernard, who travels through a wormhole inside his emotionally distant dad's brain and finds out that there's a whole universe, a Brainiverse, living inside of it! So, he makes it his quest to save his dad, who is in grave danger because the whole right hemisphere of his brain, the one from where intuition, creativity and impulse stems from, is dried up from Energeia, the powerful source that gives live to his brain.

This book had everything a great adventure has to offer. It was funny, witty and full of suspense. Nail-biting moments had you glued to the screen and you were really feeling for this boy, who lost his mother and had made it his mission not to lose his dad either! There were hand-less pirates, freakish spaceships/vessels, allies and enemies every kid will be thrilled to read about.

It was perfect as a middle-grade read but readers from all age-groups will be able to enjoy this fast-paced adventure since you will be able to laugh, adventure and sympathize with this boy who loved science and before the end had to find the much needed balance in order to save a whole world as well as his dad.
Profile Image for Milou.
363 reviews5 followers
January 4, 2017
I kindly received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The main character of this book is the young Bernard. I loved this boy a lot. He loves science, thinks out of the box, challenges everything and is not scared to ask questions. But after his mother died in an experiment gone wrong, no one appreciates his crazy ideas and curious mind, least of all his dad. When Bernard follows his wandering mind in the 'Atom Smasher' at his father's work, he ends up going through a wormhole that brings him inside his father's brain.

This is a very unique and wonderful setting. The authors managed to make an easy to understand and fairly magical portrayal of the brain, while also being mostly accurate. It shows off the difference between the left and the right side of the brain in a fun and beautiful way.

The first third was a bit flat for me. Things went too easy, the conversations were a bit off... but the story really picks up after that. A few nice characters are introduced and the stakes rise. It turns in a fun, fast-paced and action-packed story I ended up reading in a single sitting.

Something that really adds to the story is the amazing artwork throughout the book.

Overall I found this a great book for young readers who like their science, or to waken up an interest in those who do not (yet). This wonderful story of an amazing boy in an unique world has something for everyone.
Profile Image for Kristen.
223 reviews5 followers
July 10, 2017
Brainwalker revolves around Bernard, a boy who is just a character. After finding some trouble at school he accompanies his father to work and gets into even more trouble! Particularly, Bernard entering a wormhole, sending him to his father's brain. What I truly love most about this story is Bernard is not “a bad kid” or “class clown”. He is a talented creative boy who just has not been given the best opportunities or outlets to really shine.

This story had me wondering, is this for teens or adults!? It is such a charming story for both. For teens it is very creative, adventurous, science-y, and something I would think most kids could relate too. For adults, I can see parents reflecting on their own childhood, remembering their creative selves, thinking about their kids and where their inner artist went. Similar to pixar where both teens and adults can enjoy the entertainment alike and both get something out of it. Another small bonus is you may just learn a bit of science!
Profile Image for Leonie Hinch.
1,028 reviews37 followers
December 18, 2016
I must admit that I was a little surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was like Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets science fiction.

Bernard is the son of two scientists but following his mother's accidental science related death, everything seems to be going wrong. His dad is now afraid of creativity and emotion and Bernard himself is struggling at school.

A chance trip to his dad's office finds Bernard sucked into a 'wormhole' and somehow ending up inside his dad's brain. It's here that he begins to understand why his dad has lost his creative spirit.

It's a wonderful little book, I would think more aimed at children but definitely a fun read for adults too. It's educational in terms of science and best of all makes science both easy to understand and interesting at the same time. For someone (me) whose never really had an interest in science that's a biggie!

The writing is very imaginative and the scenes and characters in the 'brainiverse' are cleverly created and easy to picture. I think this book is ideal for anyone who is interested in biology and science fiction as well. But more importantly I think everyone who has children should buy this to give them a fun way of learning about the human brain.

Thank you to @brainwalkerfans on twitter for my free copy in exchange for an honest review
6 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2016
Brainwalker was a very exciting and clever book featuring a boy who finds himself in his dad's brain with the opportunity to save him from his decreasing creativity and mental flexibility. I would describe the plot as fast paced, imaginative, and adventurous. With both elements of actual brain anatomy as well as fantastical components, the setting for the novel is mostly the inside of the protagonist's father's brain, the Brainiverse. Mundell and Lacast introduce science terms and facts amidst the science fiction throughout the book that could spur an interest in science among their audience. I could definitely have seen my upper elementary/middle school self having enjoyed this book. Overall, this was an entertaining read and I rate it 4/5 stars.

I received a free copy from Netgalley to review
6 reviews10 followers
July 25, 2016
I enjoyed reading Brainwalker. I thought the premise was pretty clever – definitely an approach to teenage urban fantasy that I’ve never seen before. I found myself quite enamored with Bernard and all his geeky questions and theories. He’s charming and creative and perceptive – a great counter character to his father, who is obviously having a hard time and is kind of blah.

Bernard accidentally travels through a wormhole and ends up in his Dad’s brain. The plot hinges on a left brain vs. right brain conflict, which is definitely interesting. He also finds out that his Dad’s brain is shutting down due to energy loss and function failure. The science molded with fiction is pretty entertaining, and it creates an interesting conflict for the story.

It’s written well. The characters are well rounded, the conflict is great, and the science is surprisingly interesting. I think the author took a few liberties with the left-brain being totally logical and the right brain being totally logistic, but hey- it’s science fiction, right? Besides…underneath all the neurology, it’s really a story about connection and love and fighting for what’s important.

This is a great read, and perfect for the 12-15 age range.

I received a digital copy of this title for an unbiased opinion and reviewing purposes.
1 review1 follower
August 4, 2016
As a first Young-Adult novel of the writing team of Mundell & Lacast, we are drawn into Bernard's sensory and atmospheric world with great hopes that there will be a series of journeys to follow.

Not unlike experiencing Avatar in a 3D IMAX theater, this exciting and provocative novel includes characters (both in Bernard's outer and inner worlds) and images of such dimension, the reader cannot help but feel fully INVITED into this fantastical storyline.

Because of the writing style of BRAINWALKER, the reader is allowed ample "space" to join in every detail & sensory perception.

"...then I remembered Mom telling me empty space wasn't really empty - it was filled with possibilities."

What I like the best about BRAINWALKER is that it employs a uniquely therapeutic modality into each page, into each inhale & exhale of a reader's journey, that equally caresses and stimulates one's mind and heart rate.

Too often in Young Adult novels, we as readers are "told" what to think or offered predictable characters and inevitable outcomes. Not so with this writing team - they artistically "point" to possibilities in the most poetic way. We FEEL the piece without working at it, and instead join in the journey effortlessly and in anticipation of each next turn of events.

The novel's characters are fully developed and exhibit their challenges as well as redemptive qualities making them easily relatable to all ages.

In fact, so broad and important are this novel's messages, I strongly feel it ought to be mandatory school reading for tweens/teens across the country.
April 5, 2018
Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Brainwalker was a fantastic read full of twists and turns that kept me hooked from start to finish. The reader follows a young boy, Bernard, on an incredible journey into the mind of his father. After stepping into a wormhole at his fathers job, he is catapulted into his fathers brain. There he meets Basilides, Adhista, Philemone, and many more wild characters, who have been occupying his father's brain from the beginning of time. The people are called Holons and the two sides of the brain, Reezon and Intuit end up in a battle for Energeia, the powerful mixture that keeps the neurons alive.

There is so much action and scientific research in this book. I really enjoyed reading about the characters. I do think that this would be a fantastic book for a reluctant learner who enjoys stories. Although everything was told in a way that fit with the story, it outlined what the brain is really like and could easily be translated into terms that would teach a kid all about the inner workings of the brain. I would read this to my kids as a read aloud as they get older.

Overall, the writing style was great and kept me interested the whole way through. The voice of the story was captivating and intriguing. I would recommend this book to the sci-fi lover and am giving it a 4-star review!
Profile Image for Ian Miller.
Author 16 books92 followers
July 11, 2017
An intriguing YA story that need not remain read only by the young. Both Bernard and his father are having trouble following the death of Bernard's mother. Bernard is simply rebellious and impulsive while his father, a physicist, is having trouble coming up with new ideas. A badly behaved Bernard is sent home in the middle of the day, and his father has to take him to work where, thanks to his misbehaving, Bernard gets into an accelerator, his father comes to rescue him, there is a wormhole generated, and Bernard enters his father's brain. OK, up until now, that is a bit on the silly side, but the author needs to get the story going, and it is no worse than Gulliver's Travels. There is a deal of subtlety here, and I wonder how much the average young reader will pick up about the brain. Some is obvious – the two sites Reezon and Intuit, but I am less certain about much of the rest, and the occurrence of things like algae could be confusing. Still, this is a very interesting read, and the author should be congratulated on the originality, for which I give the fifth star.
Profile Image for zoë ❅ (fallxnrobin).
93 reviews19 followers
August 9, 2016
4 stars

Even though this book is listed under the genres 'Middle Grade' and 'Teens & YA' on NetGalley, I honestly thought it was a Middle Grade book while I was reading it. So imagine my surprise when I realised that it was meant for teens as well. Not because it was childish, but because it just isn't like your typical YA novel.

Brainwalker was a short and easy read. The story is easy to understand and follow. (A boy gets sucked into a wormhole that leads to his father's brain. In there, he finds the Brainiverse and realises that his father's life is in danger and rushes against time to save him.) It doesn't complicate itself by being overly deep or descriptive like many YA novels are apparently attempting to do nowadays. Instead Brainwalker puts its focus on other aspects, especially the characters.

The world building was solid. It is largely based off the theory of the right and left brain. The theory has been debunked as a myth, but it's still an interesting theory nonetheless. So enter the Brainiverse, where the right hemisphere is called Intuit and the left hemisphere is called Reezon. Simple, brilliant names. I honestly expected there to be lots of scientific jargon in this book but I was proven wrong. The brief mention of the corpus callosum is just about as scientific as it gets. And even that gets renamed to The Great Arc.

I do have some parts I'm not satisfied with, especially the ending. But I just felt that it ended pretty abruptly.

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Profile Image for Elaine White.
Author 41 books236 followers
July 29, 2016
Book – Brainwalker
Author – Robyn Mundell & Stephan Lacast
Star rating - ★★★★☆

Cover – Intriguing
POV – 1st person, one character POV
Would I read it again – Maybe

Genre – Young Adult, Adventure, Supernatural, Fantasy


While I think kids would love this, teenagers and middle-school kids especially, I did find it a little hard to follow in places. I'm not that knowledgeable about brains or neurons or what they do or where they are and how they work. And, though our MC is just learning all of this too, he's far more science minded than I am and I found myself getting a little lost in his erratic thoughts.

It was intriguing to follow Bernard through his normal life, then into the wormhole and into his dad's brain. There are some really nice illustrations to help us visualise things, and the creatures mentioned.

Mostly, I felt bad for Bernard, in his real life. No one really wanted him, listened or cared about him. That all began to make sense once he was inside his dad's head and, at the end, back out again. But I would have liked a little bit more to the ending. It felt a little abrupt.

There are some editing issues (missing quotation marks, missing words etc) but the story didn't have any plot holes and it was all nicely balanced between adventure, discovery and danger.


Favourite Quote

“See? So for all you know your entire universe might be inside someone's head.” Basilides counters.
I smile. This Holon reminds me of an even crazier version of myself. If we were in Ms. Needleman's together, we'd rule the class. Too bad he lives inside Dad's brain.”
Profile Image for Dave.
Author 14 books20 followers
August 7, 2016
I don't read a lot of young adult or middle grade these days, but when I received a pre-publication copy of Brainwalker, I read it through.

As is common with many books aimed at these markets, it's written in present tense, which is something I always find myself having to get used to every time. Once I got back into reading present tense, I found it to be a quick read and smoothly written.

The book centers on Bernard, a young man who has lost his mother and is having issues at school. An accident places him deep inside his father's brain, and in the resulting adventures he learns and does things that help him understand both his own issues and his father's.

The authors do a good job of creating a consistent world inside the brain, with just the right amount of tension. The stakes are high enough to keep the reader interested, but not so high that they will disturb younger readers.

If you have a young reader interested in science or the mind, drop a copy in their lap.
Profile Image for Gill.
87 reviews12 followers
October 15, 2016

This book I have to say was new to me and I've never read anything like it before but after Netgalley accepted my request to read it I decided that I loved the book and the whole concept of it.

It teaches you about the brain in ways you could never imagine. Bernard is transported into his fathers brain and although it has its own little world there, it's still his brain.

The people living inside the brain are like two nations like the two sides of the brain. The left side has to learn to get along with the right. Very much like Bernard and his father.

When both nations inside his fathers brain decide to go to war Bernard and his new friends must find a way to stop them.

In a era where most YA sci-fi fantasy is about finding a girlfriend or boyfriend than engaging in actual fiction, this book was a refreshing change and challenges the reader at all times with different thoughts and emotions.

A great read for 12-15 year olds but also for 9-10's too.

My rating for this is 4/5
Profile Image for Emily.
560 reviews39 followers
October 10, 2016
Bernard is the son of two scientists, and understandably, he Loves science. Except, now that his mother is gone, no one appreciates his weird ideas. Besides, he has trouble controlling his impulses. Which is how he ends up inside the “Atom Smasher” at his father’s workplace, Bernard’s mind reduced to atoms and transported inside his father’s brain—a place that appears to contain a world of its own, with people, energia, and cities ready to go to war. So Bernard teams up with his new friends to stop the oncoming war, restore the balance of Energia, and save his father’s life.

Brainwalker, created by Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast, will teach you about the brain in a way you never imagined. Bernard is transported inside his father’s brain, and although it contains its own world, it is still his father’s brain. Pretty much everything inside the Brain world has a parallel to the different organs and cells in the real brain; the people living in the right brain are more intuitive and creative while those in the left brain are more logical and organized. Kind of like Bernard and his father, where Bernard is more right-brained and his father is more left-brained. And like the two different sides of the brain and the two nations corresponding to them, Bernard and his father must learn to get along and appreciate both the right and left sides of their brains and each other. I am amazed at the creativity of these authors to make this allegory, providing both a great theme with many layers and a gorgeously creative world that teaches the reader a few biology lessons along with everything else. I truly haven’t read anything quite like it before. Also, to help our imaginations along, the authors included a few images of Bernard’s experiences in the Brainiverse.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy Middlegrade and YA Fantasy.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Gabrielle Messier.
35 reviews1 follower
July 21, 2016
This a very amazing tale about a boy who is in love with science, he would ask just about any question to keep his mind buzzing with ideas and theories, however his dad has lost all will to experiment and try new things (although he's a scientist himself) because of a tragedy that occurred to the boy's mom in which she lost her life.

The boy jokes about changing his dad's brain but little does he know that's exactly what happens next when he's mind travels through a wormhole and ends up in the Brainiverse, the characters and the setting of this book are truly unique and very diverse, the plot is filled with fiction mixed with real brain concepts and puts everything into perspective from both fiction and reality.

Note:I received a digital copy of this title for an unbiased opinion and reviewing purposes.
Profile Image for Domoni.
93 reviews4 followers
October 11, 2016
Bernard is a 14-year-old boy who loves science. Both of his parents are scientists, so he comes by it naturally. Bernard takes after his mother, who is more creative than his father who is more rigid and literal. After his mother dies in an accident in her lab, life is strained for Bernard and his father. Add in being an outcast at school with impulse control issues and things are rocky all around for Bernard. When he comes up with the idea to do a report on wormholes for his science class, he thinks it will be a good opportunity to bond with his father, who works at a particle accelerator. His father isn’t very encouraging and when he tells his teacher his plan, she and the whole class ridicule Bernard. His reaction is to moon the entire class. This choice has him in the principal’s office with his father.

When he ends up suspended, his father has to take him to work with him as he is late for an important meeting. Swearing to be on his best behavior, Bernard is determined to stay in his father’s office, but when he accidentally overhears his father’s conference call and knows his father is close to losing his job, Bernard blames himself. He flees through the office with a swipe card he found in his father’s desk, determined to get out of the office. Instead he ends up deeper underground and in the tube of the particle accelerator as it is turned on. Unable to stop his curiosity, he decides to see if he can witness a wormhole.

Bernard’s father chases him into the accelerator and finds him just as his body falls to the floor. Bernard’s mind is floating away from his body and is about to be caught up in some sort of tornado. Next thing he knows, Bernard wakes to find a strange boy over him. He is traveling in some sort of living submarine to a place called Intuit. The strange boy, Basilides, tells Bernard he is a Holon from Intuit out searching for the nearly extinct Energeia which fuels all of life and creation in the brainiverse. Bernard travels with Basilides and soon discovers he is actually inside of his father’s brain, and his father’s brain is dying. Now he must travel with the Intuit Holons, Basilides and Adhista, to the other side of the Brainiverse to free the Energeia from those trapping it in Reezon so that both sides can live.

This was an interesting book. Despite the characters being about 14 years old, this would be a great book for science-minded kids from the ages of 8-15. It has a fascinating story and view on how the brain works and the authors did an excellent job of capturing the mindset of an impulsive 14 year old boy who is curious about everything around him.

The authors did an awesome job creating the strange world of the brain and bringing their creation to life. From the living creations of Intuit to the ordered construction of Reezon, it was easy to imagine and bring to the mind’s eye. The story had a great concept and though there was a minute flirtation, there was no romantic aspect to the storyline.
9 reviews2 followers
June 26, 2018
WARNING of possible spoilers, but I’ll try to be vague about them!

If you need a break from the typical dystopian-love-triangle-type of teen fiction, try “Brainwalker”! It’s a very imaginative adventure that takes place exactly where the title implies... in a brain!

The novel follows Bernard, a young teen dealing with science class woes, his dad to whom he has trouble relating (and vice versa), and the death of his mom. In a strange event involving an atom-smasher at his dad’s work facility, Bernard is transported through a wormhole and into his father’s brain. Inside, he meets a number of unique characters and fights to keep the creative side of his dad’s brain from dying off. It’s kind of like aspects of “Alice in Wonderland” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” taking a trip on “The Magic School Bus,” for teens and young adults!

“Brainwalker” started out so strong, with excellent writing, and thoughtful, realistic details (“When Mom was alive, the kitchen was a laboratory, with mortars and pestles and steaming pots of original concoctions. The house smelled of sizzling meats, grilled vegetables, and exotic spices. She was the opposite of my dad. She never followed a recipe. Everything she cooked was an experiment.” Love it!). I was immediately drawn into the story of Bernard’s life. Although his father may have trouble relating to him, the reader shouldn’t: he’s a clever, curious kid whose curiosity seems to get him in trouble even when he means no harm. I liked him right away, empathized with him throughout the story, and appreciated how he used his head to problem-solve in order to get out of a lot of scrapes.

Once inside his dad’s brain, the novel has some really creative ideas: cities built on neurons, a life force called Energeia that is fast running out in one brain hemisphere, and inhabitants aptly named Intuits and Reezons according to which side of the brain they live in. Although a lot of the terminology of the Brainiverse is invented, I found myself wanting to learn some actual science while enjoying this fictional story. “Brainwalker” literally makes the reader access both sides of their brain... that’s a pretty remarkable writing strategy!

For nearly the entire novel, I was hooked on Bernard’s adventure. However, there was a certain point, somewhere in the last third of the book, where the story seemed to take a turn away from the thoughtful details and strong writing I was impressed by at the beginning. The final denouement of Bernard’s adventure and subsequent conclusion felt rushed and not as satisfying as the rest of the book. There were things introduced at the start that I wanted to see come full circle— what Bernard finally chose as his research project and how it was received by his teacher, how his life with his father changed after he exited the Brainiverse, and how his adventure also changed him. The ending hints at things to come but the reader doesn’t get to experience them. I would have loved the conclusion to feature a bookend-type scene from the beginning, in which Bernard and his dad sit down to breakfast, but this time showing us how their relationship and interaction with each other has transformed. At a few points I also thought the novel might address how to deal with the death of a loved one at a young age, because Bernard speaks of his mother’s death several times, and even questions how she could have died in the way she did; so, I was expecting some kind of a cerebral (pun kind of intended) observation of coping with a loved one’s death— or at least some resolution about his mother’s death in particular— but that didn’t come to fruition.

Although (for me) the ending was lacking a certain something, I still highly recommend and enjoy “Brainwalker!” The book features a merging of action-adventure and education to create a unique, fun story that I think people of all ages can appreciate!

*I received “Brainwalker” from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast for the opportunity to read this book! Thank you also to BookTasters for the opportunity to review it.*
Profile Image for Jessa Julian.
124 reviews4 followers
March 8, 2019
This book was amazing! See my full review on http://www.msjmentions.blogspot.com .

From the very beginning, I loved this novel. I loved the concept. I loved the characters. I loved realizing that my students would love this and that it would be a wonderful tie in with teaching about the brain and even theme in literature.

I have honestly been telling all of my friends that they are required to read this book. I even have one committed to doing so! YES!

OK, the first thing that I want to mention is how realistic the characters are. For example, near the beginning of this book, Bernard moons his whole class. I've actually been mooned by a student. Another thing that you come to expect as a teacher is that students often think creatively when we expect them to think more logically. In my two years as a teacher, I have learned not to ask why a student does something. They either won't know or I really don't want to know. Bernard is a perfect example of this aspect of junior high.

As previously stated, I loved the concept of this book and that it can be used to teach theme. In a sentence, the theme could easily be stated as "It is important to use both creative and logical thinking." This theme is blatantly obvious throughout the entire book. Heck, Bernard is on a mission to save Floyd from only thinking logically! I think that this is an important concept for middle school individuals to consider. It is difficult to mature into adulthood while maintaining a healthy level of creative thinking. I love that this book will inspire children to keep that part of their thinking alive.

I strongly urge you to read this book! Please let me know what you think!
1 review1 follower
October 26, 2016
As an example of smart & savvy literature for smart & savvy young adults 'Brainwalker' is one-of-a-kind, in a class by itself. Entertaining and phenomenally exciting in equal measure, it's an ambitious and adventurous work of fiction that manages to educate and inform in a non-didactic style that's super easy to absorb, even when the factual neuroscience is quite advanced. No-one can read this wonderful book and not come away feeling smarter and way more knowledgable about the both the human brain - and the human heart! 'Brainwalker never talks down to its reader and never ceases to demand anything but full engagement in a yarn that might once have been called 'incredible' - yet in light of recent scientific advances what Mundell & Lacast have achieved can no longer be characterized as 'science fiction' but more accurately as speculative science 'fact'. It would come as no surprise to learn that movie studios were sniffing around this terrific book. After all, they wouldn't have to do a re-make, they can shoot 'Brainwalker' instead. A 'Fantastic Voyage' for the new millenium!
Profile Image for Yichen Tu.
1 review1 follower
July 24, 2016

“Brainwalker” is a story about a boy’s searching for the answer to the mysterious universe, and the reconnection of father and son love through the main Character, Bernard’s journey inside his father's brain universe.

Bernard is a creative, intuitive, right brain thinker high school student who was searching a topic to write for his school science project. Bernard’s father is a rational, logical, left brain thinker scientist who works for the atom smasher project.

While Bernard was in trouble of finding the right topic to write for his scientific project, his father, was also stuck in providing new ideas for his work. Accidentally, Bernard travels through a wormhole into his father’s brain, where he found that his father’s inability of providing new ideas is because his father’s left brain (the rational side of the mind) and right brain (the intuitive aspect of the mind) not coordinate with each other well. He also found out that his father is facing death because the brain loses the energy to keep function.

Bernard wants to save his dad. He decided to be the hero of his father. Inside his father’s brain universe, Bernard began the journey of battling for reconnecting the right side brain and left side brain. He won the battle, saved his father, and returned to the real world. His father had not noticed what was happening. But after the journey, Bernard found a deep connection with his father for the first time…

“Brainwalker” is a great scientific fiction and that offers the readers a fantastic experience of the scientific adventure with the beautifully written words, the well laid out plots, and lifelike characters in the story. The story helps the readers understand scientific concepts in an engaging way. Young readers can draw their inspiration of their scientific quest, and adult’s reader can grasp of their once-have childhood fantasy from Bernard’s journey. For whom is the first time scientific fiction reader, one will find it a real cliffhanger.For whom who is the avid sci-fi lover, one will find the sophistication of this book beyond this genre. It’s beyond a young superhero story. Truly, it’s a story for all.
Profile Image for Taylor Levesque.
43 reviews5 followers
December 31, 2018
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Here it comes!

This book was a complete surprise worthy of five stars for me. It was the type of situation where, rather than even reading the author's description of the book first, I jumped right in and let the story tell itself. I went in with no expectations, no single idea of what was going to unfold, and my goodness was I blown away.

Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacast do an excellent job of presenting this world so unfamiliar to humanity. Written in the first person point of view, we follow Bernard on his unexpected journey into his father's brain. Yes, you read that correctly: his journey into his father's brain, and this is where he finds out that his father needs some saving.

Practically falling into an entirely different dimension within a dimension, science-loving Bernard goes from being ridiculed and criticized by everyone for being so impulsive and unrealistic to being surrounded by only impulsive and creative beings. This, of course, would be the right side of the brain, and the beings are called Holons. In the combination of science and the imagination, the entire Brainiverse was created in a way that not only indicates the clear creativity of the work, but the extensive research that was done for it.

There is a war between the two sides of the brain over the possession of what is called Energeia, this being the source of thought and creation -- and if you want to get real deep on this, life as well. The right side of Bernard's father's brain has been very nearly wiped out. It certainly explains why his dad is so "left-brained," to say the least, but the entire plot leads to some excellent character development as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and would certainly recommend it to sci-fi lovers. Thanks so much for the great read!
Profile Image for Olivia.
3,046 reviews70 followers
June 28, 2016
"Brainwalker" is the story of Bernard, a boy who is searching for a project in science, and accidentally travels through a wormhole into his dad's brain at his dad's work (his father works with an "atom smasher" or particle collider). His dad's brain contains an entire universe which is in trouble due to a lack of energeia (how neurons communicate).

Overall, the book is cute and clever. Bernard's father has become too logical and so needs to enhance the artistic parts of his brain (which are lacking energeia). It contains some lessons about the brain such as about neurons and the corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres. This is a fun way for kids/preteens to learn about science and the brain. The pictures are also really great and add a lot to the story.

The main flaw of the book is that it is based on the myth that the two sides of the brain are divided as logical (left) and artistic (right). This is a common misperception, but a myth nonetheless. I think it would have been better to use regions of the brain instead, such as that areas of the prefrontal cortex is logical and limbic system would be more emotional. This would make it more accurate and educational, but there are still lessons to be learned!

Overall, I think this is a fun read and would be great for preteens/tweens especially.

Please note that I received thus book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Sara Harper.
47 reviews5 followers
March 2, 2018
This book blew my mind....literally. From it's motley crew of colorful characters to the mind-bending plot, for a science fiction novel that takes place in the brain this book has a lot of heart. I laughed, gasped and cried at different parts. First of all I really related to Bernard and his lack of impulse control as well as his frustration with Ms. Needleman (I always had so many questions in science class and they weren't always answered, much to my chagrin), but also Barnard has a wonderful imagination and curiosity about his predicament and I really loved that about him. I also fell head over heels for Frobenius (he's so adorable) and Adhista (she's so cool, and I loved Nesus, the neorosub), and Basilides as well. This book is a perfect blend of science, fiction, action and adventure and I would highly recommend it to everyone, whether they love science fiction or not.
I would like to thank @brainwalkerfans on Instagram for e-mailing me a complementary ebook in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Namita .
325 reviews4 followers
June 19, 2020
What an entertaining book!! I could picture the happenings as I read the book. An adventure, it was. Who would have thought Holons lived in our brains. Brilliant and intriguing concept. A super fun read! I think middle graders to adults will all enjoy this fun adventure.

The story flowed really well and it’s well written. Perfect blend of science and spontaneity. Thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to my friends.

I got this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kelly Lenihan.
Author 26 books34 followers
June 18, 2020
Brainwalker is one of the most creative, imaginative stories I have ever read. I loved everything about the story - the characters, the plot, the action - it would be awesome as a TV series or a movie. HIGHLY recommend.
Profile Image for Kadi P.
785 reviews96 followers
Want to read
July 30, 2021
Am I reading this correctly? Is that what I think it is?? IS THAT TIME-TRAVEL?!?!??!

UPDATE: I did, in fact, read it incorrectly. That is not time travel. I have no idea what Kadi from 8 months ago thought she’d read🤦🏻‍♀️😂 Still sounds interesting though!
Profile Image for Laura.
2,697 reviews81 followers
October 2, 2016
Oh, I wanted to like this so so much, but I did not so do much. As happens far too often the concept is good, in this case a boy journeying into his dads brain to save him.

Problem is there is no tension. I mean yes he has to save his dad but the books telegraphs that this will be a happy ending.

And the moral is very heavy handed. You need to use both sides of your brain. Yeah, yeah, I got that message.

I have it three stars because the writing is actually well written with some bon mots thrown in. I'm sure there are those in the middle school realm who would love Bernard's adventures.

I'm hoping the final publication inks in the penciled illustrations.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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