Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You can't exist on Book Twitter without hearing the name of Corinne Duyvis, so sooner or later I had to check out her books at the library. As I understand it, Otherbound was her debut, so of course I had to read that one first.
Although the book starts out by plunging the reader straight into the land of confusion, Duyvis doesn't waste time failing to properly explain and build her world - or, more accurately, worlds. The book is split between Nolan in the real world, in Arizona, and Amara in the fantasy world (helpfully mapped at the start of the book.) And the central premise involves some serious and barely-controllable body-surfing. Barely, but still controllable, in scenes that reminded me oddly of Being John Malkovich, especially for the inevitable moment when Amara discovers that her mind isn't her own, and she is sooooooo not happy to learn that.
But, of course, Amara's going to have to put up with Nolan in her head at least long enough to solve another major problem brewing - the presence of more body-surfers working their evil ways in both her world and Nolan's.
After reading this book, I can see why Laura Lam would enthusiastically blurb it. It's not only fantastical and action-packed, but also loaded with intersectional diversity - Nolan and Amara both being disabled people of color (Nolan's an amputee, and his trips into Amara's body are mistaken for seizures, while Amara uses sign language because her tongue was once cut out), and Amara being bisexual as well. All of which comes as no surprise, given that Duyvis is one of YA lit's strongest, most outspoken pro-diversity voices.
I only wish that this could be a series - hell, even a spinoff focusing on either Amara or Nolan (especially Nolan, because I felt he and the people around him were slightly less developed) would be welcome. But as a standalone, Otherbound works beautifully.
I'll soon be reading On The Edge of Gone, and I'll for sure be eagerly awaiting Duyvis' detour into Marvel with her Guardians of the Galaxy novel. She's definitely going onto my must-reads list now.
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