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Inspiring Insomnia

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Relativity

Relativity - Cristin Bishara This review and others are posted at Inspiring Insomnia.

I'm not going to pretend that I understood everything about parallel lives and wormholes as they were described in Relativity, but that did not detract from my enjoyment of this book.

Ruby wants what we all want, and what we all should have: loving parents and a happy home. But she doesn't have that. Her mother died while Ruby was young, and her father remarried a woman who doesn't pay a great deal of attention to Ruby, and Ruby's stepsister is a vicious bully. Ruby thinks she's found a way to escape her unhappy home when she discovers a tree...with a magic door. The interior of the tree has a dial that transports the occupant to ten different worlds. By "worlds," I don't mean different locations. The location stays the same, but each "world" represents a variety of minute and/or major differences in each of Ruby's ten different, parallel lives.

Ruby travels to each location, seeking the "perfect" one. She wants the life that has her mother and father living happily ever after. But Ruby never took into account that while she remains aware of who the "real" Ruby is, the family members and friends she encounters have been living in their own parallel world, with their own versions of a different Ruby.

At the beginning of the story, I thought this would be straightforward. Let Ruby find her mother and father living happily, and then ease right into that world. But it's not that simple. Real Ruby is a stranger to the people living in these other worlds, and she has not given much thought to how her presence will affect them. All of this leads to a heart-breaking moment at the end, when Ruby learns that her quest for happiness is going to extract a huge price from the people around her. Ruby's dilemma leads to some great questions: Are we entitled to anything in life? What value do we place on our own happiness when it causes others to suffer? Ruby must work out the answers to these questions, even as a glitch in the wormhole is propelling her to make a decision.

I felt so much compassion for Ruby, especially when it became clear that Ruby might not be able to get exactly what she wanted. And I thank Bishara for giving us such a great sense of Ruby's developing humanity.

Note: I was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.