Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves

Joey Harker is a pretty average kid, with the exception of his horrible sense of direction. One day, his crazy social studies teacher, decides that the entire class will be grouped into teams and dropped off at a random point in the city. The goal is to find their way to certain checkpoints by an appointed time...but as usual, Joey gets lost. At first it doesn't seem that terrible, but that is before the flying saucer-silver alien guys shows up, threatening him with electric nets.

Next thing he knows, he's in some alternate reality, with a guy in a silver mask (whose face looks surprisingly like his own) named Jay, telling him to follow. As if that wasn't bad enough, a woman materializes before him and puts a spell on him. Suddenly, he is whisked away to what seems to be some kind of space pirate ship. He knows he's out of options, and he will follow this woman, Lady Indigo, to the ends of the earth. Luckily, Jay appears, masquerading as Lady Indigo's servant, and undoes the spell. They escape into the In-Betweens, and are headed back to base, InterWorld.

Joey, it seems, is one of hundreds of Walkers who can walk between worlds. He studies at InterWorld's boot camp...which is a little harder than high school. In fact, they study round-the-clock! Martial arts, survival skills, magic, science, and lots of things that are not applicable on our Earth. He manages to make it through, but will he survive the upcoming trials?

A more in-depth synopsis would give too much away. It may seem confusing, and it is at times, but Gaiman and Reaves to a good job tying things together, and explaining difficult issues. It explores the concept of parallel worlds in a way that will appeal to teens, and incorporates issues of personal identity, diversity, and the true meaning of family.
"...I came to a path that I could feel would lead me into the Earth with the InterWorld base on it. I wish I could explain it better than that. I could feel it there, in the same way you can feel with your tongue a place in your tooth where the filling has fallen out. I could feel it. It was time to Walk. And I did," (Gaiman and Reaves pg. 89, 2007).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy)
House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl's Moving Castle trilogy)

Gaiman, Neil and Reaves, Michael. (2007). InterWorld. HarperCollins: New York, NY.

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