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Out of This World by Douglas Richards
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Out of This World

by Douglas Richards

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Zachery and Jenna are having their usual morning breakfast when out of no where, shimmering appears in the air and their parents are gone. They've disappeared into thin shimmery air. Of course, just being young middle school children, they jump in after their parents.

Suddenly they find themselves in another world run by transparent people who don't seem to happy that they are there and try to convince them to leave their world. This is where the adventure begins, by jumping through portals to find their parents.

Since they are young children they find themselves making mistakes that seem so common sense, and then regretting their decision, but learning from it none the less. Each world they jump through they find new and interesting characters that become more and more dangerous.

Each encounter they fall into they learn something about overcoming prejudice, thinking more positively, loyalty, responsibility, and understanding others pain. In order to succeed in finding their parents they must use their cleverness and continue to be brave.

This reminds me of an old ninety's sit com where each episode ended in learning something vital that you can apply to your own life. The morals aren't shoved in your face quite as much, but they definitely get the point across.

This was a great book that mixes science fiction and fantasy for middle aged children. Richards has many twists and turns throughout this book which definitely kept me on my toes, guessing what was going to happen next. I highly recommend this to children ten and older. I'd rate this a 4/5. ( )
  lizasarusrex | Aug 8, 2013 |
This was just a fun story. Fun, fun fun! I giggled through it and loved the characters and the adventure. It's meant for youth and the writing suited the age bracket beautifully. That in itself I think is difficult enough, writing for an age not your own, let alone throwing on a sci-fi adventure to multiple universes and having to construct new worlds and new challenges for our two protagonists.

Zachary and Jenna just watched their parents fall through a portal into another world. Tasked with the challenge of finding them the brother/sister duo must stop their bickering long enough to survive the multiple worlds and unique environments they leap into.

I was like reading about two rats in a maze looking for the centre with cheese. But with dialogue and strange creatures from different dimensions all vying to kill them. I liked it a lot and will definitely be one I recommend to any reader, young or old, who enjoys the sci-fi realm, brain teasers, riddles and competition! ( )
  cwaldrum | Jun 30, 2013 |
From my blog: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/

Out of This World is a middle-grade adventure story about a brother and sister who must travel to other worlds to save their parents. In order to succeed they must be clever, kind and brave, and perhaps figure out why all of this is happening in the first place!
I received Out of This World for review and didn’t actually realize it was a middle-grade novel before starting it. It became fairly obvious as I read through, but it’s definitely one of those books that you have to keep pushing through to the end because it all makes much more sense and reaches a whole new level of awesome!

Goodreads
Title: Out of This World
Author: Douglas E. Richards
Pages: 215 (ebook)
Genre-ish: Middle-grade alien-worlds adventure!
Rating: ★★★★☆ - Fun characters, typical beginning and middle, awesome ending!
Setting: Out of This World starts on Earth as we know it, but proceeds to take place on a variety of alien worlds with everything from transparent mammals to giant wasps to kangaroo-legged owl-men. All of these worlds have portals that semi-randomly appear, which are what connect the worlds ;-).
Premise: Out of This World focuses on the adventures of two kids: Zachary and Jenna. After dinner one night a strange portal appears underneath their parents, sucking them into another world. Zach and Jenna realize that they must go in and try to find their parents. What they end up finding is adventure after adventure as well as finding out a lot more about themselves along the way!
Strengths:
Out of This World tells a great story about brother and sister. I am an only child and I found myself really appreciating the bond that Richards was able to build between the two main characters.
Jenna starts off with very low self-esteem, but finds a whole lot of self-confidence as the book progresses and is a great role-model for girls who don’t think they are smart enough.
Quick pacing and constant adventure make Out of This World a fast and fun read.
Middle-grade language and peril also contribute to the light and fun feel.
Weaknesses:
While the end strongly makes up for it, the middle chunk of this book is pretty typical for a middle-grade story, making it less compelling for adult readers until the last third.
There are times when the characters feel the need to explain words or plot points to the reader, which is obviously to help newer readers, but this probably could have been done more subtly; show not tell and all ;-).
I really wish Richards had brought all his awesome creativity into the book earlier. While the worlds he comes up with are interesting, the adventures play out like those weekly TV shows and are just a little too predictable, even though this gets explained later. Just push through! It’s worth it!
Summary:
I’m not the kind of person that reads middle-grade novels for fun, but after reading Out of This World by Douglas E. Richards I do understand their appeal to readers of all ages. Out of This World is fun and light, if a bit typical for the first two-thirds, but more than makes up for that with the ending! If you are up for skipping over some info-dumps and plot-explanations, Out of This World is great book for easy reading. ( )
  anyaejo | Apr 2, 2013 |
More reviews at: http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/2012/07/06/out-of-this-world/

Out of This World is a middle-grade adventure story about a brother and sister who must travel to other worlds to save their parents. In order to succeed they must be clever, kind and brave, and perhaps figure out why all of this is happening in the first place!
I received Out of This World for review and didn’t actually realize it was a middle-grade novel before starting it. It became fairly obvious as I read through, but it’s definitely one of those books that you have to keep pushing through to the end because it all makes much more sense and reaches a whole new level of awesome!

Title: Out of This World
Author: Douglas E. Richards
Pages: 215 (ebook)
Genre-ish: Middle-grade alien-worlds adventure!
Rating: ★★★★☆ - Fun characters, typical beginning and middle, awesome ending!
Setting: Out of This World starts on Earth as we know it, but proceeds to take place on a variety of alien worlds with everything from transparent mammals to giant wasps to kangaroo-legged owl-men. All of these worlds have portals that semi-randomly appear, which are what connect the worlds ;-).
Premise: Out of This World focuses on the adventures of two kids: Zachary and Jenna. After dinner one night a strange portal appears underneath their parents, sucking them into another world. Zach and Jenna realize that they must go in and try to find their parents. What they end up finding is adventure after adventure as well as finding out a lot more about themselves along the way!
Strengths:
Out of This World tells a great story about brother and sister. I am an only child and I found myself really appreciating the bond that Richards was able to build between the two main characters.
Jenna starts off with very low self-esteem, but finds a whole lot of self-confidence as the book progresses and is a great role-model for girls who don’t think they are smart enough.
Quick pacing and constant adventure make Out of This World a fast and fun read.
Middle-grade language and peril also contribute to the light and fun feel.
Weaknesses:
While the end strongly makes up for it, the middle chunk of this book is pretty typical for a middle-grade story, making it less compelling for adult readers until the last third.
There are times when the characters feel the need to explain words or plot points to the reader, which is obviously to help newer readers, but this probably could have been done more subtly; show not tell and all ;-).
I really wish Richards had brought all his awesome creativity into the book earlier. While the worlds he comes up with are interesting, the adventures play out like those weekly TV shows and are just a little too predictable, even though this gets explained later. Just push through! It’s worth it!
Summary:
I’m not the kind of person that reads middle-grade novels for fun, but after reading Out of This World by Douglas E. Richards I do understand their appeal to readers of all ages. Out of This World is fun and light, if a bit typical for the first two-thirds, but more than makes up for that with the ending! If you are up for skipping over some info-dumps and plot-explanations, Out of This World is great book for easy reading. ( )
  anyaejo | Feb 16, 2013 |
This YA book is a mixture of fantasy and science fiction, written with very interesting characters caught up in a story line that reminds me somewhat of The Phantom Tollbooth. I enjoyed the themes of collaboration and using your wits to outsmart a foe, as well as the other theme of self-confidence, self-respect as well as sowing respect for others and not judging based on surface appearance. The action was fast-paced and well-described, with many interesting minor characters along the children's journey. The ending left an opening for a sequel, which I hope will come, as I will enjoy visiting these characters again. This book is a great addition to the young adult literature. ( )
  calicocat901 | Jan 5, 2013 |
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Zachary & Jenna Lane are a brother and sister pair who would much rather tease and trick each other than work together. But when their parents vanish through a mysterious shimmering portal, they join forces and adventure through a series of fantastic worlds in an effort to rescue them… (more)

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