Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is book that crosses genre, juggles POVs, and deals with everything from romance to curses to questions of identity. And it all comes together beautifully, with all the feels and thoughtfulness a reader could hope for. Here are a few of my reasons why you should read Otherbound:
To put it mildly, Nolan’s going through a tough time. He’s been flashing to a fantasy world whenever his eyes are shut, and to everyone around him, it looks like he’s having seizures and hallucinations. Despite the pressure he’s under in both worlds, Nolan is a sensitive person who deeply cares about other people. He’s a character you can’t help but rooting for.
Similarly, Amara’s under a lot of pressure (trying to keep a princess’s magical curse at bay, having Nolan live inside of her, etc.). It’s hard enough to craft one layered main character, but Corinne’s managed to create two. Amara is brave and conflicted and passionate, and easily feels like a classic fantasy heroine.
With two main characters merged together in one body, Corinne brings up interesting questions about what it means to truly exist and own your body, and what kind of control we have over our own lives.
Big feels for Nolan’s family. I love that they so obviously care about Nolan and are worried about him, and want to try to help him however they can (even if they have no idea what’s really going on). Pat, Nolan’s sister, is a phenomenal minor character. (Seriously, all the feels.)
5. Big Bads
There are a couple of super creepy, intense moments. Don’t want to spoil anything here, but oh my gosh, stakes get raised on both sides of reality. And even then, I liked seeing how the ‘villains’ and challengers were developed; they were all trying to find some kind of peace, even if it came at another’s expense.
I took ASL in college, so I have major respect for signing as a language. It was really cool to see sign incorporated here as Amara’s method of communication, without it necessarily being a story about a signing experience.
7. Medical Alert
Nolan is dealing with seizures that take him into Amara’s world, and Corinne includes the reality of that kind of situation–the danger of having a seizure, the difficulty of trying to find medication to help, how expensive working with doctors and medications can be.
8. Chases and Escapes
Along with excellent character development and concepts of self, Otherbound includes some good old fashioned excitement. Amara and Cilla are on the run from people trying to kill them and, on yeah, there’s a deadly curse to worry about. Nolan has a hard enough time as it is in the real world without having to deal with stuff like the lines of worlds blurring.
Otherbound features a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. Obviously Nolan’s dealing with seizures, but he also has a prosthetic leg and is Latino. Amara signs, and is also a WOC and loves a man and a woman (and both relationships feel genuine). None of these features become an “issue” (as in old-school after-school-special “issues”) and are instead just the way these characters exist in the world–which is how it should be.
10. Corinne Duyvis Is Probably a Superhero
If I were going to invent a superhero, it would probably be pretty much exactly like Corinne. She lives in Holland; she writes awesome books and makes awesome art; she’s extremely active in speaking out for diversity in children’s/YA literature (see Disability in Kidlit); and she currently has pink hair. I’m so glad to have gotten to know Corinne through the Fourteenery, and I’m psyched that now readers are getting to know her, too.
Otherbound is now available in all kinds of stores, so go pick it up!