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Tandem

Tandem is a YA contemporary sci-fi novel featuring the concept of parallel worlds by Anna Jarzab.

Sixteen year old Sasha has long gotten over her diehard crush on popular yet nice senior Grant. Yet when he out-of-the-blue strikes up a conversation with her – at the library no less – her heart can’t help but go-a-thumping.

When he states interest in taking her to the prom, Sasha can hardly believe it – but Grant is believable and seems to really like her – despite how invisible she’s felt for so long.

Of course it was all too good to be true.

Stories of parallel worlds where an alternate Sasha is living an alternate life were fairy-tales to Sasha’s as she grew up with her theoretical physicist grandfather after her parents’ death when she was young.

Now? All too real.

Sasha is thrust into an alternate universe in which the other version of herself is a princess that has vanished less than two weeks before her arranged marriage to a rival country’s prince.

And now Sasha is expected to pretend to be her until they can find the real princess.

The problem is the princess version of Sasha is in serious danger, which means that Sasha is now a target…

Tandem is the first in what is called the Many-Worlds Trilogy.

When we first meet Sasha, my first impression was, “Yay! She’s a book lover!”

Unfortunately that delight didn’t last all that long…

The whole beginning, to me, didn’t make any sense when I looked back on it later. Without giving away too much, I feel that the way Sasha was brought into the alternate world was sort of pointless and unnecessarily complicated. Maybe I missed something, but that just seemed weird to me.

Now, Sasha’s fight for survival and return to her own world was refreshing in the sense that she didn’t just give up or believe every word she was fed – yet the self-pitying, negative first-person narrative got old pretty fast for me.

Ordinarily I am ALL FOR ALTERNATE UNIVERSES. I am a huge fan of TV shows like Fringe, and find the whole concept fascinating as a storytelling device. However, I found the way Tandem went about introducing and explaining it odd and strangely stale.

Then, on top of all that, the romantic elements felt both forced and rushed. I eventually just had to start skimming it, and found that by the end I was only vaguely interested in what would happen in the next book.

Keep in mind, Tandem has many positive reviews and I may be in the minority in my opinion. So, as always, read it for yourself!

For my part, I found the court intrigue, romance and swapped identities far more believable, interesting and suspenseful in The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist.

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