In 1960, Henry, a professor, dreams of finishing his fantasy novel. Angela, a scientist from the far future, takes his idea and makes a doorway to another world. Rosie, Henry’s neighbor, wanders through it.
JLG Release: Apr 2016
Awards & Honors
BooklistTop 10 SF/Fantasy
Praise & Reviews
Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:
Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal
School Library Journal
Although readers may purchase this title as a conventional novel, an eBook, or as an audiobook, it’s hard to imagine a better container for the complex story than the app format. When fiction is translated into digital, readers might expect a multimedia experience but Arcadia is all about a new way to access a complex narrative sole
Although readers may purchase this title as a conventional novel, an eBook, or as an audiobook, it’s hard to imagine a better container for the complex story than the app format. When fiction is translated into digital, readers might expect a multimedia experience but Arcadia is all about a new way to access a complex narrative solely through text connected by a clever GPS-like navigation map. The description notes the uniqueness of this story. “Ten characters. Three worlds. Hundreds of paths to explore.” When users enter the tale, they’re invited to read a short, lyrical description of the setting, and choose from six options to begin. Arrows provide easy navigation between the selections, and skimming each short section introduces a variety of characters and situations. Subtitles such as “The Professor’s Tale, ” or “The Young Girl’s Tale” under each main title give more clues about which to select. The font is easy to read, but users also have the option to switch to another font and control the screen brightness. Touching an icon allows viewers to see the entire map of the story with the sections that they have read marked; a blinking circle directs them to where they left off. Access to any of the worlds within the story—Willdon, Oxford, and Mull—can be found at the bottom of the map. Once an entry point has been chosen, readers simply need to read. After each short chapter, they may continue following the experiences of their current character or to switch to another character or scene. Strands can be followed from beginning to end, though readers may choose to move to another strand somewhere along the line, enjoying many new or overlapping chapters. The story of Arcadia is complex and many-layered. Characters are firmly established in their own worlds but Pears skillfully plays with melding genres and following themes across stories, while integrating allusions to art, history, and classic literature. Middle and high school students will enjoy Arcadia although understanding and appreciation will increase with more reading and life experience.—Chris Gustafson, Whitman Middle School, Seattle Public Schools
Henry Lytten, a British professor and struggling writer, is trying to complete an epic fantasy novel that will compete with the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. He bounces ideas off his young neighbor, Rosie, who inadvertently enters Lytten’s magical Anterworld through a portal in his basement. A brilliant physicist and a respected scholar are just two of the other main characters—each chapter is told from 10 different points of view. While perplexing at times, the three settings (1960s England, Anterworld, and a dystopian island off the coast of Scotland) help keep the time travel/alternate history stories centered, and there is a satisfying conclusion. The author also created an app called Arcadia for iOS devices. It’s free to download and explore, but finishing the novel costs $3.99. In the app, readers can choose how they want to read the novel—stories by character (“The Young Girl’s Tale, “The Scientist’s Tale,” etc.) or by setting. VERDICT This is metafiction at its best, and teens who like complicated science fiction will appreciate the challenge.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL
This complex, entertaining tale from British novelist Pears (An Instance of the Fingerpost) involves time travel, British spies betraying one another, and apocalyptic scenarios all folded together in a number of interconnected story lines. Closest to our times is Henry Lytten, an old Oxford scholar, amateur author [STARRED REVIEW]
This complex, entertaining tale from British novelist Pears (An Instance of the Fingerpost) involves time travel, British spies betraying one another, and apocalyptic scenarios all folded together in a number of interconnected story lines. Closest to our times is Henry Lytten, an old Oxford scholar, amateur author, and part-time spy for the British government. Unbeknownst to him, his friend Angela Meerson is really a psychomathematician who has invented a time machine of sorts and has traveled to Henry’s time, roughly the 1960s, to escape betrayal and maybe death many years in the future. With her invention, she has created another universe called Anterwold, drawing on ideas from a novel Henry is writing. A young girl who lives near Henry and sometimes feeds his cat has accidentally stepped into this world and has started up the machinations of several plots and love affairs. Angela is being hunted on many fronts, in many parallel universes, and the powerful leader from her time is anxious to get his hands on her machine to use for his own ends. VERDICT Pears weaves a diverse group of characters and multiple worlds from the idyllic to the Orwellian to create an impressive and quite enjoyable mystery fantasy.—James Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib.
6 1/4" x 9 1/4"
Scholastic Reading CountsN/A