Penguin Random House
February 26, 2018
Random House Australia Children’s
George Ivanoff has well established his cred for providing exciting adventurous narratives for the middle school crowd. In Other Worlds and this particular first instalment he’s also giving them what I would describe as a taste of dystopian for younger readers.
Keagan really has a bit on his plate. He and his mum are struggling on their own and his thoughts are overwhelmed with school, homework and bullies. That aside, an errand to go and buy pickles should be relatively simple if tedious. However, Keagan decides to ignore his mother’s advice about avoiding the local industrial estate and though he successfully avoids manic truck drivers, he does discover a weird shop with an even weirder old woman looking after it. When he riskily touches a key, he is transported to a strange world where perfection is the norm. By that I mean that everyone looks and acts almost identical and is instantly hostile to Keagan. But then he’s shunted to the Dumping Ground and discovers that though people may be ‘perfect’ up above, the ‘rejects’ are discarded like refuse.
It does sound dark and in one way it is however it is written in far more of an adventurous way and really highlights the concept of acceptance despite differences.
I think for middle school readers this will be a fantastic and exciting new exploration. I would endorse it enthusiastically for year 4 upwards.