Out of This World is a middle-grade adventure story about a brother and sister who must travel to other worlds to save their parents. In order to succeed they must be clever, kind and brave, and perhaps figure out why all of this is happening in the first place!
I received Out of This World for review and didn’t actually realize it was a middle-grade novel before starting it. It became fairly obvious as I read through, but it’s definitely one of those books that you have to keep pushing through to the end because it all makes much more sense and reaches a whole new level of awesome!
Title: Out of This World
Author: Douglas E. Richards
Pages: 215 (ebook)
Genre-ish: Middle-grade alien-worlds adventure!
Rating: ★★★★☆ – Fun characters, typical beginning and middle, awesome ending!
Setting: Out of This World starts on Earth as we know it, but proceeds to take place on a variety of alien worlds with everything from transparent mammals to giant wasps to kangaroo-legged owl-men. All of these worlds have portals that semi-randomly appear, which are what connect the worlds ;-).
Premise: Out of This World focuses on the adventures of two kids: Zachary and Jenna. After dinner one night a strange portal appears underneath their parents, sucking them into another world. Zach and Jenna realize that they must go in and try to find their parents. What they end up finding is adventure after adventure as well as finding out a lot more about themselves along the way!
- Out of This World tells a great story about brother and sister. I am an only child and I found myself really appreciating the bond that Richards was able to build between the two main characters.
- Jenna starts off with very low self-esteem, but finds a whole lot of self-confidence as the book progresses and is a great role-model for girls who don’t think they are smart enough.
- Quick pacing and constant adventure make Out of This World a fast and fun read.
- Middle-grade language and peril also contribute to the light and fun feel.
- While the end strongly makes up for it, the middle chunk of this book is pretty typical for a middle-grade story, making it less compelling for adult readers until the last third.
- There are times when the characters feel the need to explain words or plot points to the reader, which is obviously to help newer readers, but this probably could have been done more subtly; show not tell and all ;-).
- I really wish Richards had brought all his awesome creativity into the book earlier. While the worlds he comes up with are interesting, the adventures play out like those weekly TV shows and are just a little too predictable, even though this gets explained later. Just push through! It’s worth it!
I’m not the kind of person that reads middle-grade novels for fun, but after reading Out of This World by Douglas E. Richards I do understand their appeal to readers of all ages. Out of This World is fun and light, if a bit typical for the first two-thirds, but more than makes up for that with the ending! If you are up for skipping over some info-dumps and plot-explanations, Out of This World is great book for easy reading.
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