When Albie’s mum dies, it’s natural he should wonder where she’s gone. His parents are both scientists and they usually have all the answers. Dad mutters something about Albie’s mum being alive and with them in a parallel universe. So Albie finds a box, his mum’s computer and a rotting banana, and sends himself through time and space to find her…
If you’re looking for a kidlit book that tackles grief in a fresh, moving and ultimately mature way, look no further than The Many Worlds of Albie Bright. I don’t think I’ve been so emotionally affected by a middle grade book since A Monster Calls.
We meet Albie just after he loses his mum. It’s a difficult balance to introduce a main character with the added aspect of grief, but Christopher Edge manages to flesh out Albie as a person with wants and needs and a personality who just happens to be grieving. I really enjoyed Albie’s character–he was smart and introverted and brave.
The tension between Albie, his dad, and his grandpa was palpable at the beginning of the book, and Christopher Edge captured the emotionally charged atmosphere perfectly. Albie’s feelings of being adrift, the distance from his dad and his classmates were also explored in a beautiful way.
I LOVED Albie’s solution to losing mum–finding her in a parallel universe. The science behind Albie’s ‘experiment’ was explained really well, and the adventures Albie got up to were funny and moving. I can’t say too much more about the plot because SPOILERS, but it was beautifully done, and the climax of the novel had me in floods of tears.
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright is a quick read that I found to be completely unputdownable. It was written in a beautifully, haunting way that tugged at my heart strings. The plot was compelling and original, and there were Back to the Future references, which just added another level of awesome to this story. Basically, this book rocked, and you should read it.