Worlds collide in romantic, unexpected, and heartbreaking ways in this “picture-perfect” (VOYA, starred review) debut novel about a young man with a truly unique power.
Sometimes high school senior Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is heroic, desirable, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most often, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.
But when Jonathan confuses his worlds and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie suddenly notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.
Jonathan Aubrey is the only surviving member of his family, following a plane crash when he was a child. Since then, he's lived with his often absent uncle, ignored by everyone at school. Physically and emotionally scarred, Jonathan learned to live in his imagination, only to discover he could create and travel to parallel worlds that operate on his terms including the one in which classmate Kylie Simms is his devoted girlfriend. When "real Kylie" and "girlfriend Kylie" seem to be merging, Jonathan must find a way to complete the process or risk irreparable damage to both worlds and both Kylies. Jonathan's somber internal monologue dominates Brooks's debut a decision that makes sense given his introversion and isolation, but that also gives the novel a claustrophobic feel and a slow pace. Only Jonathan and Kylie get much attention as characters in the first half of the novel, and while Jonathan's world-making abilities offer dazzling possibilities, his manipulation of his relationship with Kylie never quite shakes its creepy edge, and a late-breaking twist may leave readers feeling as lost as Jonathan does. Ages 12 up.