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Relativity by Cristin Bishara


by Cristin Bishara

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I received a free copy of Relativity in exchange for an honest review.

Relativity is the story of Ruby Wright, who, like most teenagers, hates her life. Unlike most teenagers, however, she's just been dragged from California to Ohio to live with her dad's new wife and her diabolical daughter, Kandy. Fearing for her life after a particularly bad fight with Kandy, Ruby takes refuge in a nearby tree, rumored to be dangerous, maybe even killer. This tree transports her to various parallel universes, in which one small detail, one different decision, changes everything. In some universes, her mom is still alive and she has an overprotective brother. In other universes, her friend/sort-of boyfriend from California, George, goes to her school in Ohio. In others still, the land hasn't even been developed, or has been entirely destroyed. Throughout all these universes, Ruby searches for the perfect situation, the one with a mother who loves her, a George who isn't on the other side of the country, and where everything is exactly the way she wants it to be.

Overall, the book was very entertaining. I thought the first half, where she was more excited about exploring the parallel universes, was better than the second half, where she sped up and just wanted to get her injured mother back to Universe Four.

Although physics, especially string theory, has never been my thing, I appreciated that the main character was a smart teenage girl who didn't hide or make excuses for her interest in science. I can't tell you whether the science is correct or whether the use of string theory in the book makes sense, but the use of the tree as a portal/wormhole was something I hadn't previously seen in any books I've read, and it was refreshing to not find a rehashing of something I'd already read.

I had few issues with the book, but the thing that really confused me was Ruby's leg injury. She's supposed to be this brilliantly smart young woman, but she hangs out in a dirty, musty tree with a huge open wound on her leg. It starts swelling, it gets pussy, it has enough drainage to soak through her pants, but she keeps pushing through these universes even when she ends up in the ER and is told that she needs to take it easy. This intelligent girl almost loses her leg because she won't listen to anybody! That was the only thing that really bothered me throughout the book, which I guess says something.

Relativity is a quick and enjoyable read -- and I was reading an advance uncorrected proof. I imagine the final version will be even better. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
This review originally appeared on Book.Blog.Bake.

I found the premise of Relativity SO interesting! While I’ve read a handful of books that deal with parallel worlds or alternative realities, it’s usually just two choices. That’s why when I read the description for Relativity I knew I had to request it. Because instead of just two realities, this book plays with a multiverse of ten possible worlds, and we get to see just a little bit of all of them. The way they mirror each other and break down was incredible, really. I LOVED the plot devices used in Relativity.

I really liked Ruby, the book’s main character. I felt for her. Her mother died when she was four, and her father has just remarried and has made her relocate to an entirely different state. She’s dealing with having to adjust to a lot of stuff all at once, including a stepsister who quite dislikes her. It was easy to believe that someone as smart and unhappy as Ruby would go looking for the perfect world, and have the scientific mind to be able to explain all the different realities in a convincing way.

So if I liked the characters and the plot, you might be wondering why the stoplight for Relativity is yellow instead of red. Well, while I loved the set-up of the plot, the way the plot played out got a bit tiring after awhile. I think it would have been hard to do so otherwise–I mean, Ruby’s searching for the perfect universe where she’s happy, her mother’s alive, etc., and there’s ten universes, so of course she’s going to go through them all. After this happens a few time, it sort of lost the novelty and I was having trouble staying interested. I did really loved the third and fourth realities Ruby explored, and none of the others were quite as captivating as that, though some were quite sad.

On the plus side, I really loved most of the side characters in Relativity. It’s a short book, so none of them really get that much screen time, but they were fascinating. I loved Ruby’s love interest in a few of the universes, and also her siblings in some of the alternative universes as well. I really enjoyed how Relativity really dove into string theory and used real scientific ideas to build the world. The science explorations were by far my favorite part.

Final Impression: I enjoyed Relativity. The highlights for me were the science and the characters, but I thought the plot was a bit slow at times just because of the episodic nature of Ruby’s quest. I wish there had been a bit faster pacing in those parts, though I was quite satisfied with the end result. It was an original science fiction and I liked it on the whole.

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
A fairly good story about a young girl's search for a perfect family and life. The story describes how the search for perfection can possibly lead to complete disaster. ( )
  ThePageturners | Apr 14, 2014 |
Ruby Wright is no ordinary girl who likes make up and preppy clothing. She is more of a geek as some and most people would classify people who are ridiculously smart and quote Albert Einstein. She moved to Ohio from California with her dad and has to try and cope with her stepmother and stepsister. Ruby soon discovers a huge oak tree in the middle of a cornfield. She takes a walk and suddenly is surprised by a humming sound coming from the tree. The next day Ruby's life is changed from upside down to exploring different universes. She soon discovers that there were possible lies that have been told to her. Ruby wonders if there is a perfect world and life. Can she find it out?

I recommend this book to teens like me. It contains a lot of words and phrases that can be quoted to your everyday vocabulary. It is very interesting. Can you imagine a portal built into an oak tree? I was very amazed at how a scientist could actually figure out a way to make it happen. Although this book is not non-fiction, it still contains many interesting facts that may have happened in real life. If you read this book, you'll realize you are turned to a different universe. to have an awareness this book does contain a little swearing, but not as much as any other teen books you may have read. Trust me, this book is probably the most interesting book i have read in my entire life. Hope you enjoy this book as much as i have. ( )
  NagisaR.B3 | Mar 13, 2014 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: Interesting concept with the parallel worlds, but I felt that there was too much going on. It also was a little rushed, so it was really hard to connect with the story.

Opening Sentence: I hold up my phone and snap a photo of the windowless cafeteria, then close-ups of the gory details: paper wedged underneath uneven table legs, yellowed ceiling panels sagging with water damage, deep gouges scarring the linoleum floor.

The Review:

Ruby Wright has just left her long time home in California to move to some small town in Ohio. Her dad got remarried and decided to move in with his new wife. Ruby had to leave everything behind, her friends, the boys she has crushed on for years, and the comfortable life she had in California. She feels like her father is being completely selfish and she really wishes that she could change her life. Then Ruby discovers a very odd Oak tree in the middle of nowhere. There is just something about it that seems off. As she investigates she finds a door that happens to lead to parallel worlds.

Suddenly, Ruby can change the course of her life. What would happen if her mother was never killed in that car accident all those years ago? What would happen if her father never met Ruby’s stepmother, Willow? What if Ruby had siblings? Would she still fall in love with the same boy? Would she like the same things? What would Ruby’s ideal world look like, and what is she willing to give up to get it?

Ruby was a really hard character for me to connect with. She has a really negative attitude which is somewhat understandable given her circumstances, but it made her seem whiny and immature to me. There were some things I liked about her, like the fact that she is really smart and caring. She has lost a lot in her life, which would be really hard to deal with. I can’t blame her for wanting a different life, but the way she went about things just made her hard to relate to. So overall she was just an okay character for me. I wish I could have liked her better, because I think it would have really improved my experience with the story.

This was and okay read. The idea of the parallel worlds and being able to pick what you want in your life was really cool, but unfortunately, I felt like there was just too much going on. I think there were too many versions of Ruby’s life, which made the story feel, rushed. I think that it would have been better if she had stayed in each world a little longer so I could have connected better with each aspect of her life. There weren’t any specific characters in the story that I really liked or really cared to get to know any better. The plot had a few twists, but mostly it was pretty predictable and a little boring. I try really hard not to skim through books, but I found myself doing that a lot with this book. That being said, I do think that there will be people who probably will really enjoy this book, so if the synopsis sounds intriguing to you, go ahead and give it a try. Hopefully, you have a better experience with it than I did.

Notable Scene:

Minutes later, I’m out of the cornfield and in fresh air, under the tree’s canopy of cool shade. It seems taller, more splendid than yesterday. Ancient, alive. I take my glasses off and wipe the water from the lenses.

Now, in daylight, the purple glow is hardly detectable. But the humming is louder. And the trunk has changed. Significantly.

A piece of bark has been shed, in the shape of a large, perfect rectangle. Jabs of fear, quick and strong like voltage spikes, tell me I’m in danger, that I should go back. At the same time, I’m pulled forward by a force that feels inescapable, gravitational. Push and pull. Goose bumps spring up along my arms.

“Hello again,” I whisper. The ground beneath me feels charged, a steady thrum of power.

I take a few steps closer and see that it’s not just a rectangle of smooth trunk. There are etchings all over it, and in the middle, near the right edge, there’s a metal knob.

It’s a door.

FTC Advisory: Walker Childrens/Bloomsbury provided me with a copy of Relativity. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Oct 16, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802734685, Hardcover)

If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can't come true; some things just can't be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities. Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:44 -0400)

"If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?"--… (more)

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