Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Celebration of Diversity, Friendship, and Geek Culture | Review: An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay (ARC)

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: October 16th, 2015
As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems.
Disclaimer: I received a copy for review, but this did not affect my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for this.

"At the heart of the story, it's about coming together during hard times. It's about trust and acceptance."

I haven't been seeing this book around the book community, and I wish more people were talking about it. For all the talk about diversity, An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes is such a great example of a book that seamlessly features diverse characters. Though those aspects of the characters are important to their story and their identity, it's not the main focus of the story.

I enjoyed the different characters, though I don't think any of them really stuck to me or really impressed me. They were all at a level playing field, and there were merits and great parts of all their story arcs. Sure, there were some characters who annoyed or angered me at times. There were others I really cheered on. I didn't really like the way their perspectives were split in blocks rather than with switching chapters because it made the overlaps a bit awkward, but I thought each portion was comprehensive and interesting.

What really made this book great was the focus on friendship and overall geek culture. Though the reason they are going on a cross-country trip is concerning, they stick together and look out for one another. They all have their own issues, and they, at times, forget about the fact that everyone else is going through things too. But at the heart of the story, it's about coming together during hard times. It's about trust and acceptance. I don't play D&D, but I love that the story depicts a group of people who originally came together because of a mutual interest but then grew to something more. SO many of my friendships came about this way, but it's rarely depicted in books.

The book was a pretty quick read, though a bit slow/dragging at times. It was easy to get caught up in everyone's drama, and I loved when story lines finally intersected. We got to see some select scenes from both/all perspectives, and it really shows how we think we pay attention to others, when we really spend a lot of time thinking only of ourselves--not in a selfish way, necessarily.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. The cover still makes me so happy every time I see it, though there's no concrete reason why. I love the geek love. I wasn't wowed by the book, but I would recommend it, particularly if you're looking for another "diverse" read.
An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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