The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith
Out now from Feiwel & Friends; 336 pages
Content Warning: Death
About the Author: “Joan F. Smith is the author of The Other Side of Infinity and The Half-Orphan’s Handbook, a dance instructor, and a former associate dean of creative writing. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Joan lives and writes in Massachusetts, where she was the 2021 Writer-in-Residence at the Milton Public Library. When she’s not writing, she’s either wrangling her kids, embarking on a new hobby she will quickly abandon, or listening to podcasts on a run” (Bio from the Author’s Website).
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The Other Side of Infinity follows two teenagers named December and Nick. They meet on one fateful summer day when Nick, a lifeguard at the community pool, freezes while someone is drowning. December, who has the gift of knowing the future, jumps in to save the drowning man — changing the future course of events. Even though she’s changed the future slightly before, this time is different. Now that December has intervened with Nick’s fate, she learns that she will fall in love with him in the future. Then, he will die. Is there anything December can do to save the boy she will inevitably fall in love with? Or is the future predetermined?
We were drawn to the book because the description on the back cover mentioned it was like the film The Butterfly Effect and the book They Both Die at the End, and we loved both. We enjoyed the unique premise of this story and all of the characters, especially Nick’s sister and his best friend, Maverick. They both were funny, spirited, and super smart. One aspect of the book we really appreciated was the dyslexia representation. We loved reading about how Nick’s brain worked and the academic obstacles he had to overcome as a student with a learning disability. December’s knowledge of the future was also a super intriguing part of the novel. We liked learning about December’s powers but wanted to know more about their origins. The family bonds in the story were touching. For example, December’s mom disappeared, so her uncle took her in, and their relationship was adorable. She also had a grandmother whom she visited regularly in an assisted living facility. Nick and his parents are close, and they seem so understanding about his dyslexia. Overall, The Other Side of Infinity was a cute, fast-paced summer read with a heart-wrenching ending.
PRR Writer & Social Media Manager, Kelly Marry
PRR Assistant Director, Emma Watts