Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Me vs. the Multiverse and Star Wars: Stories of Light and Dark

Wilson, S.G. Me vs. the Multiverse: Pleased to Meet Me
August 4th 2020 by Random House
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Meade has enough worries in his life: his parents often fight by just not speaking to each other, and they try to micromanage his school work by making him wear a MeMinder that reports things like "Science Fair Project 1% complete"! Not only is his science fair project not going to be done, but he has nothing else ready for the school Student Showcase, AND classmate Nash is giving him a hard time. When he gets mysterious notes from "Future Me" that accurately reports secrets no one else can possibly know and are accompanied by intricate origami that only Meade can make, he decides to accept the invitation they offer and meet this mysterious note sender at the abandoned Janus Hotel South. Once there, Meade is confronted with a frenetic and confusing reality where there are countless versions of himself from different worlds. Working on the same premise as Lawrence's A Crack in the Line, Meade finds out that reality can splinter whenever there is any choice made, hence versions of himself that include Motor Me, who is overweight and in a mobility cart because his dad died, Disco Me, and Resist Me. These versions all know about each other and even have a Me Con with different panels about aspects of Meade's lives. Most worrisome is Meticulous Me, who not only arranged the Con but also is working on elevator that will allow people to travel through the multiverse without causing problems. But is that the real reason that Meticulous Me wants to facilitate this travel, or does he have a more nefarious reason? It's up to Meade, the Average Me, to make sense of the multiverse and make sure that everyone and everything stays safe.
Strengths: Wow! This was one clever, pell-mell romp, complete with hysterically funny lines like "chocolate chip spaghetti with prunces" and "Chihuahuas did skateboard tricks on the curb, nearly bumping into a real-life centaur cantering past them as he sipped from a bottle of homemade kombucha" (from the E ARC: haven't gotten a chance to see a print copy yet). I'm an absolute sucker for unexpected word combinations that make me snort tea out of my nose! The story, despite the number of characters, holds together, the plot goes forward, and there is even some character development. The cover is fantastic, and the inclusion of origami is quite original. The whole multiverse concept, as discovered by Meade's mother, made me wonder if his mother was actually Meg Murray of A Wrinkle in Time!
Weaknesses: There were a LOT of versions of Meade. For someone who has trouble with books like The Warriors series because of the number of different cats on each page, this was challenging. I also wasn't a huge fan of Motor Me.
What I really think:This reminded me a bit of Castle's  Popular Clone series, which I thought was brilliant but doesn't circulate well. It is also somewhat reminiscent of some of Patterson's Jimmy books, with a smattering of illustrations in a very popular style. I'm torn. If I have enough money, I will buy this; having enough money will depend on how many of the 1,400 books that were still checked out at the end of the school year get returned. Welcome to the Covid19 world!

Anders, Lou, et. al. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark
August 25th 2020 by Disney Lucasfilm Press\
E ARC provided by Netgalley

This was an awesome testament to the love that all of these well established middle grade authors have for Star Wars.

I didn't really understand any of it.

 There are a lot of Star Wars books out there, some by the authors included in this anthology of what is essentially very, very good fan fiction. I can't comment on how the stories fit in with the Star Wars canon, but I'm sure my students who love the franchise will be more than happy to tell me in great detail. Some of the books (especially the series by the Davids and by Jude Watson) are easy enough for people unfamiliar with the movies to understand, but this had so many details and characters that I was lost.

This means that it is perfect for readers who DO know the characters, but for me, it was sort of like reading the Silmarillion. I understood each word, but struggled with following exactly what was going on.

Will I buy a copy? Yes. Will it circulate well? Indeed. Was it my cup of soup that Baby Yoda drinks?

Clearly, I am culturally illiterate when it comes to this fandom.

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