How far would you go to get back someone you love? To a universe outside your own? A parallel existence on a parallel Earth where everything is slightly familiar yet completely unknown? Whom would you trust? Where could you find a safe place? These are the questions facing the protagonist of Ian McDonlad's Planesrunner, a madcap adventure in an alternate London so perfectly re-imagined you'll swear you've seen pictures of it. Everett Singh is only just coming to terms with his parents' divorce and his two separate lives - one with his practical mother and the other with his eccentric father. He is in no way expecting or prepared for the truly separate life that will begin for him when his father is taken for ransom because of his scientific discoveries related to parallel universes.
The action is pretty much non-stop, but that doesn't mean the characters are shallow or predictable. The description is so vivid, whether the author is painting us a picture of a rainy London afternoon or the feeling of despair when no one believes us. The author is equally skilled at capturing a stunning and unfamiliar cityscape, a tavern brawl, an airship chase scene, or the most poignant of emotions.
The futuristic devices that make the drama in the story are way beyond our current scientific ability to engineer. But they are not beyond our ability to imagine! That means we get to follow McDonald on a whirlwind tour or "What if" questions that lead to amazing uses of nano-carbon fiber, quantum physics, and even food! Because the not-yet-within-our-grasp tech devices are based on the concepts of quantum physics, anyone who is into the strangeness of particles that affect one another over millions of light years of distance will find extra joy in this adventure.
I recommend this book to readers in 7th - 9th grades seeking adventure. And if you have ever wondered about the existence of parallel universes, you should definitely pick up this book! But be forewarned: this is the first in a series. If you start, you won't be able to stop, so make sure to hunt down the rest in the Everness series