Tandem by Anna Jarzabon September 26th, 2013
Author: Anna Jarzab
Published: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Series: Many-Worlds, #1
Source: ARC from publisher via Netgalley for honest review
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives–infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.
Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real–until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.
To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love–one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she’s someone she’s not.
Stories with time travel/parallel universes are my favorite genre, so I was super excited to read Tandem. I should have loved it, but I didn’t. It took me almost three weeks to get through this book. Three freaking weeks! I could only read it in smaller doses or I’d fall asleep. With that being said, it wasn’t a terrible book. I know, I sound like I’m contradicting myself, but I didn’t hate the book. I didn’t love it either. It was just … okay.
The premise of the book is actually pretty cool. A scientist in Aurora discovered how to open the door to a parallel universe. That door leads to Earth. When princess Juliana disappears at the worst possible time, the crap hits the fan in leaving an entire kingdom is at risk. So there is a secret mission to kidnap her analog, the girl who looks just like her, from Earth and make her pretend to be Juliana until they can find the princess. Of course, things aren’t that simple.
I love a book with good characters. One or two really good characters can make a huge difference when it comes to even a mediocre story. Unfortunately, this was the biggest problem for me. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters in Tandem. Nothing. Sasha is the 16 year old analog from Earth that replaces Juliana. I wish Sasha would’ve had a little more fire to her, something that would’ve made me want to root for her. Instead, she, along with everyone else just felt flat to me. And the romance … I don’t even get where it really came from. Sasha had more chemistry and seemed to actually get to know the guy she didn’t fall for more than the one she did. It was just weird.
Tandem feels like the writing is geared more towards tweens, except it has a little bit of cursing in it and a 16 year old protagonist getting married. I think it’s the simplicity of the story and dialogue that got on my nerves and made it seem like it was for a much younger audience, and at times it caused a few eye rolls. There’s mystery and betrayal, but it’s easy to figure out. Honestly, if you don’t question anything and just accept what is being said, it might be more enjoyable. I have a hard time doing that though.
See, this all came out more on the negative side, but I didn’t want it to because there is an audience for this book. Actually, if the cursing was removed or a little bit is okay for certain people, then I’d definitely recommend Tandem to readers in 6th grade and up. It just wasn’t enough for me.
So overall, Tandem was pretty much a three week bust for me. For some reason I didn’t want to give up on it. Since this is the first in a trilogy, I was worried about there being a big cliffhanger at the end and then not even want to read the next book. Well, that happened. However, the cliffhanger was done in a way that made me feel okay walking away from the trilogy. I just came up with my own ending and don’t feel the need to find out what happens next. So this is the end of the road for me, but I’d recommend it to certain younger readers I know.