Review: An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes
Published by Adams Media Buy on Amazon
Four friends from wildly different backgrounds have bonded over Dungeons & Dragons since the sixth grade. Now they're facing senior year and a major shift in their own universes. Math whiz Archie is struggling with his parents' divorce after his dad comes out as gay. Mari is terrified of her adoptive mother's life-altering news. Dante is carrying around a huge secret that is proving impossible to keep hidden. And when Sam gets dumped by the love of his life, everyone is ready to join him on a cross-country quest to win her back. The four quickly discover that the road is not forgiving, and that real life is no game. They must face a test of friendship where the stakes are more than just a roll of the dice--they are life and death.
It feels weird when you read a book and after you finish reading it, you find it hard to talk/write about it. And I do not mean to say this in a way that says the book was bad but in complete opposite. I had heard such great things about Randy Ribay’s debut novel An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes that I was letting the hype guide me through the book but after reading a couple of chapters, I found that to be quite troublesome. This book is written so simple that it makes the book feel like after reading you are waking up from a wonderful dream.
The story follows four friends as they go on an adventure as a group but as individuals themselves. Each of them has a story to tell, and each one will have to decide what they want to do. With the book in four separate perspectives. I have seen authors take a story and split it in two ways but never have I read a story spilt in four. This brought a refreshing perspective to the overall read.
There is usually a chance where I love one character out of everyone in the book but this was not the case. I feel I can confidently say that my love for the four main characters was split equally. I think what got me to this conclusion was the idea that all four characters started off at a point and grew from there, they did not stay stagnant.
I think something that the author did that I found creative was each character dealt with a different topic that readers are able to possibly connect with in a personal way. With topics ranging from divorce, to sexual preferences, to adoption, and overall relationships, these characters tackled these issues that made this book seem more of a reality than fiction.
Overall Randy Ribay’s debut novel is one to put on your shelf and check out for yourself. I promise that you will not be disappointed. A contemporary perfection put together in a little over 200 pages.
About the Author
Randy Ribay is the debut author of the contemporary YA novel AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES (Merit Press, October 2015). He’s also a book reviewer & blogger for THE HORN BOOK and a high school English teacher. He can be found in Camden, NJ walking his dog-children, gaming, or making lightsaber sound effects with his mouth.
- What encouraged you to write An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes?
As someone who has always felt kind of lonely, I find I’m always writing about how people deal with loneliness. With INFINITE, I started with some characters—geeky outsiders—who have the kind of friendship where they spend a lot of time with each other but never really get to know one another. Then, I wanted to explore what it would take/how it would affect them to change that dynamic.
- Where do you typically see yourself sitting down to write (at home, coffee shop, outside, etc.)?
Ideally, I see myself writing atop a glacier in Iceland as the Northern Lights dance above me and a friendly polar bear stands by to give me hugs.
In reality, I sit at my kitchen table which is crowded with the detritus of everyday life.
- Could you see yourself as a certain character in the book?
Much like Voldemort parsing fragments of his soul into each of the Horcruxes, I think there’s a piece of myself in each of the characters in my novel. Unlike Voldemort, I didn’t have to murder anyone to accomplish this.
Or did I?
- What is something that you are currently reading?
I’m about half way through ILLUMINAE by Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which comes out Oct 20. It’s a YA sci-fi story told through documents collected in a classified dossier. It kind of feels like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (the newer one) meets HELIX (that Syfy show nobody watched but me). Thus, it’s awesome.
- As a debut author what advice do you have for other writers who hope to have their hidden work published?
Hmm…depends on what stage the writer is at. If you have a finished draft, find a good critique group/partner (i.e. not your mom) and get some objective feedback so you can revise that action and start sending it out. If you don’t have a completed manuscript, then sit down and finish that story! Either way, accept that fact that there will be a lot of rejection, but know that you’re not alone. Every single published writer started there!
- Fun Question! What is the weirdest combination of food or drink have you ever tried?
I’m told that as a child in the Philippines I was a big fan of a dish known in English as “chocolate pork,” which is basically pork in a blood stew. Does blood count as a drink?