Between Worlds - Skip Brittenham
Immersive augmented reality brings this action-packed fantasy to life.
The town of Eden Grove has a legend: In the center of a pine forest there is an aspen grove, and in the center of the aspen grove is an ancient, magnificent tree. A tree that grants wishes.
Mayberry and Marshall have heard the stories about the Wishing Tree, but they know nothing like that could really exist near their dreary town. Misunderstood and restless, the teenagers wish for a lot of things, including being on another planet altogether. Somewhere with magic and adventure—someplace where they can be heroes.
And then the unlikeliest thing happens: On a hike through the forest, they find the Wishing Tree. The pair make their wish, fall asleep . . . and wake up on Nith, a world that is exactly what they asked for. The alien landscape is beautiful, but it’s also full of dangerous and fantastic creatures, and almost without exception, the creatures are hungry. Soon Mayberry and Marshall learn two very important facts about their wish: First, that magic comes at a very steep cost; second, that they can only be heroes if they can survive. The journey that follows will test the limits of their courage and strength . . . and change them in ways they haven’t begun to imagine.
This epic work brings fantasy to life, first by inviting readers into another world, then by using cutting-edge augmented reality technology to bring the world alive in interactive 3D.
Full disclosure, I was doing the augmented reality (AR) on my iPhone, but it would have been so much cooler on a tablet, for sure. So if you're going to take advantage of the AR aspect of that, that might be a helpful tip for you. Secondly, this is geared towards the middle school crowd (12+) but honestly, my third grader (age 8) got into it easily so if you have a child who can read at a 4th grade level and up, this might be a good pick for them.
The story itself is pretty interesting, we have two kids who find themselves in another world courtesy of the Wishing Tree. (So it's kind of like The Magic Treehouse for big kids) So Mayberry and Marshall find themselves in Nith, and they don't know what/who are friendly and what/who is an enemy. They discover they have some new magical powers, and they discover that there are some downsides to possessing these powers. They have to navigate this new land and test the limits of their strength and courage. The very cool thing about this book are the creatures in Nith, the author does a fantastic job of imagining them up and giving us some really fantastic descriptions. (Then you add in the AR piece to the book where the characters essentially pop up off your page and it really just adds a very cool element.) And we have a budding junior high romance between Mayberry and Marshall which was very sweet and not too much for this age group.
If you have a middle school reader on your holiday shopping list, I highly recommend this book. It's a great story with good characters, and I think the AR capability could be the new thing. Especially in a time where kids are more plugged into their devices than they are to actual books, this is kind of a cool way to bring ebook lovers back to regular books too. You can find a copy of Between Worlds on Amazon!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.*