This book was provided to me by NetGalley in return for a fair review
Imagine Stranger Things crossed with Back to the Future all tied together with teen angst and the guilt of loss and secrecy. That’s pretty much the premise of Down World.
This is the story of Marina, a girl who lost her brother to a train accident four years previously. She is starting her sophomore year at public school; having gone to private school previously.
As the story unfolds, we discover that the high school, formerly a military base, has portals to different planes deep in its bowels that people have been using for years to visit alternate realities. That’s where things start to get very interesting, and Marina’s world changes drastically.
Ms. Phelps does a great job at world building and character development in this quick read. The foibles of high school life, and the navigation of potential romance make the “normal” portions of this book seem very believable.
Where I was disappointed, however, were the leaps in trying to rush certain portions of the story along to get to the next waypoint. Concepts and situations were introduced, not really ever resolved, and that stuck with me. For me, there is a wide swath of the “Down World” story that would have benefited from a better introduction, or even just an in-story summary of the bigger situation. There were opportunities to expound on this, but it was a path just not taken.