The Art Of Saving The World is an exciting, suspenseful sci-fi/fantasy YA novel.
Duyvis’ book starts out with a bang–the rift that opened on Hazel’s farm the night she was born–gripping the reader immediately, and never letting go. The novel is full of fantastic twists and surprises, thrilling fantasy and grounding depth. Hazel, a 16-year-old asexual lesbian, deals not only with insecurity, anxiety, and panic, and her family being split apart, but also being held captive by a government agency with only a mile-and-a-half radius of the rift that opened up when she was born. She can’t have friends or visitors over, and since she can’t leave that small radius she’s never ever been shopping, or been to friends’ houses or extended family. Her world changes on her 16th birthday when the rift changes behavior, and suddenly she is faced with four other versions of herself from other dimensions, a dragon, trolls, and an otherworldly power–and it’s up to her to save the world.
Hazel is a likeable, realistic hero, with her mix of insecurity, self-doubt, naivete, panic, desire to help and to do what is right, honesty, and slowly growing courage and guile, though at times I felt impatient with her. She also has a realistic response to trauma (being monitored and basically held captive by a government agency for most of her life), and she slowly changes and grows. The contrast between the original Hazel and the Hazels from the other dimensions was fascinating and also made sense with the difference in their experiences, and the similarities were also just right.
Each new reveal, secret, and mystery is like another puzzle piece put together, building on each other, and pushing the reader forward. There are so many great cliffhanger chapter ends and surprises, combined with beautifully compelling writing and no boring bits, that this makes a wonderfully satisfying, highly enjoyable read. I loved that there was diversity as well–in Hazel being an asexual lesbian, in her mental health issues (and the other Hazels as well), and in her stepfather being Chinese and her sister Carolyn part Chinese. I wish Hazel wasn’t quite so steeped in societal homophobia, so afraid to come out, but she does make change and progress over time.
I loved this book so much I didn’t want it to end, and plastered it with so many post-its marking passages I especially enjoyed. I hope there’s a sequel; I’d love to see Hazel change even more, and reconnect with the other Hazels, Tara, and the dragon. And now I want to pick up all of other Duyvis’ books. Highly recommended. 5/5 stars.
The Art Of Saving The World
Written by Corinne Duyvis
Published by Amulet Books/Abrams, New York, 2020