Down World

Wattpad. Mar. 2021. 368p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781989365595.
Gr 7 Up–Marina’s brother Robbie would be a senior, but three years ago he died in a train accident. Now Marina, who is of Mexican and Irish descent, is starting her sophomore year at a new school, which used to be an army base and was designed to be confusing. When she runs into dark-haired Brady she is glad for the help, and a little smitten with him. Marina starts to see cryptic references to a place called D.W. throughout the school and hears it mentioned in a conversation between Brady and a brown-haired girl named Piper. She learns that Down World is a portal into an alternate reality. Things from D.W. must stay in D.W. and people going into D.W. must not stay too long or they risk changing their home realm. Marina discovers her brother may have slipped into D.W. and cannot escape. The teens team up and try to enter various dimensions in order to save Robbie and try to fix their world. For as widespread as the rumors are about Down World, it’s strange that a portal hidden in the basement of a school wouldn’t be widely discovered. The adults in the story have knowledge of Down World but don’t stop the kids from entering and don’t share the information they have with one another, making readers question why they weren’t working together.
VERDICT While the premise is promising, lack of character development and general confusion make this an additional purchase.

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