Bound To Stay Bound

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 Game changer
 Author: Shusterman, Neal

 Publisher:  Quill Tree Books (2021)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 387 p.,  21 cm

 BTSB No: 816233 ISBN: 9780061998676
 Ages: 14-18 Grades: 9-12

 Football -- Fiction
 Multiverse -- Fiction
 Identity (Psychology) -- Fiction
 Science fiction
 Gay teenagers -- Fiction

Price: $22.58

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash's life doesn't look quite the way he remembers it. Impossible though it seems, he's been hit into another dimension--and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own. The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control. And if he isn't careful, the world he's learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence.

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: UG
   Reading Level: 5.30
   Points: 15.0   Quiz: 511548

   Kirkus Reviews (12/15/20)
   School Library Journal (-) (02/01/21)
   Booklist (12/15/20)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/02/21)
 The Hornbook (00/05/21)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 12/15/2020 At first, Ash attributes the buzzing in his head to a concussion sustained during a football game. Slowly, he notices more things askew, such as blue stop signs that everyone considers normal. After another rough tackle on the field, Ash discovers that he is hopping from dimension to dimension each time he gets hit. At first, he marvels at how different his life is in these alternate realities. But when he travels to a reality where the civil rights movement never happened, the significance of his power comes into focus. He must learn to harness it to both right wrongs in other worlds and return to his own before he messes things up. The conceit behind Shusterman’s latest is truly unique. While it exhibits the author’s usual storytelling aplomb, it also manages to delve into more serious and timely subject matter, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. Despite these heavy topics, the story still moves at a lively pace and, thanks to a zany sci-fi twist, manages to pack in a few laughs as well.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: He's won the National Book Award, and he's at home on the New York Times best-seller list. The publisher's robust marketing campaign should catch the attention of any reader not already itching to get their hands on this. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 02/01/2021 Gr 8 Up—A hard tackle on the football field normally gives a linebacker a concussion—but every hit Ash Bowman takes throws him into new worlds, called Elsewheres. In the first Elsewhere, the stop signs are blue instead of red. The next hit sends him to an Elsewhere where his father is a professional football player. The next: Segregation is still legal. Ash learns this multidimensional jumping gives him the power to change the world—but only so many times. Once his time runs out, the world will be stuck however he's left it. One might have hoped a novel so firmly grounded in current events would more deftly tackle topics like racism, homophobia, and misogyny—as it is, this novel is a Chosen One white savior narrative. It is only after Ash, who is white and heterosexual, moves through alternate realities to experience firsthand discrimination that he learns these things are bad. Ash is deeply changed by what he learns across worlds, his narrative voice swerving between compelling and mansplaining as he pulls readers along. Shusterman's writing style instantly turns pages but ultimately isn't enough to make up for the problematic foundation the book was built on. "Arc of the Scythe" fans will likely be disappointed in this metaphysical novel, but the sports-meets-speculative aspects will draw in new readers. VERDICT An earnest novel that misses its mark, this is an additional purchase for collections where Shusterman's books already have an audience.—Emmy Neal, Lake Forest Lib., IL - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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