{Review & Design Vlog} TANDEM by Anna Jarzab

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    WHEN I WAS A SOPHOMORE in high school, I enrolled in a Western philosophy class to full a graduation requirement. On the first day of the semester, my teacher, Mr. Early, wrote three words on the board: kata to chreon
    The phrase, he said, was ambiguous, both in origin and meaning, but basically it was translated "according to the debt." The ancient Greeks, Mr. Early told us, believed that the universe was an ordered place, where everything had a price that was collected in due course. The universe, he said, strives for harmony and balance. All that is born will someday die. Ashes to ashes. Things fall apart. 
    Those guys might've died centuries ago, but they were on to something. Science tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but also that every action has an equal and opposite reaction--all debts are eventually paid in full. I don't remember much else from the class, but that particular idea stuck with me. Kata to chreon.
    Apparently, the universe won't let you get away with anything, at least not for long.
(Page 1, US hardcover edition)

The world can be a scary place. Scarier when you don't recognize your surroundings. Sasha is kidnapped against her will and dropped into a parallel universe called Aurora. First of all, Sasha didn't even know other universes existed. Second of all, her analog this this world is a princess. A princess who has run away to avoid getting married and may have ignited a war. Sasha's been brought to Aurora to masquerade as Princess Juliana and make sure the wedding happens as scheduled. But a rebellion is brewing, and dangerous people know that Sasha is not who she's pretending to be. Will Sasha succeed in her task or be the cause of mayhem? And most important of all, will she ever find her way home?

The world of TANDEM is unique, and perfect for fans of sci-fi. It mixes princesses, war, and parallel dimensions. It's a throwback to books I grew up with, where characters were always going to other worlds in order to find their destiny, which is something not done as frequently in YA these days. When I went into the novel, I didn't realize just how sci-fi the book would been, but it was about a girl who is forced to slip into the life of a princess in order to save a country from going to war. There's a lot of scientific theory in this novel that goes over my head, but luckily,  TANDEM pulls from books like A WRINKLE IN TIME to create visuals that will help center readers and bring the theories to life (See my picture and video below for more details). Some of the concepts remind me of the world-splitting in Marie Rutkoski's THE SHADOW SOCIETY, where things are very similar until major events split the timeline apart. This was an aspect that really intrigued me in both books!

It's also nice to see the way characters are evolving and strengthening throughout the course of their journey. They sacrifice a lot along the way, too. Sometimes I hated Sasha and Juliana, but other times I completely understood their motivations and completely believed their progress. I also loved seeing more of Prince Callum, who was different than I thought he'd be, even though Sasha was too focused on her guard Thomas to care much. Even minor characters such as Dr. Moss brought importance to the story as he decoded the more scientific aspects of the world for readers and characters alike. I can't say too much about anyone because I read TANDEM and TETHER back to back, and I'm not too sure where one spoiler ends and another begins! ^.~

TANDEM is the first in a trilogy. Ignore anyone who tells you it's a duology. That's what I thought, too, but after reading the sequel, TETHER (Which comes out March 2015), I realized that it's a trilogy. I thought I was being sneaky and reading the whole series at once, but NOPE. And there's a lot going on, so I'll probably re-read these before the final book comes out. One thing that's been really interesting is the way the world evolves and changes and becomes so different in each book. Each story has its own complex set of worldbuilding challenges and rules, and I'm excited to see all of the new things we'll be introduced to in the final book.

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG ( kissing )
Language: G ( None that I recall... )
Violence: PG13 ( nothing graphic, but there's fighting, death, guns, kidnapping, a city on the verge of war, and other themes that imply violence )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The guts of TANDEM are so, so gorgeous. Looking at the cover in the store, you wouldn't expect such an epic interior treatment, but it looks stunning. 

Here's a montage of some of the awesome things in the interior:

I had to take a video to show you all the great details:

The interior treatment also reminds me of childhood classic A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle. Both books use graphics to introduce readers to complex scientific concepts:

On the left: A WRINKLE IN TIME
On the right: TANDEM
Both books use diagrams to explain scientific concepts about multiple universes to readers!

Isn't that neat?

I really love the treatment for this series!
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Anna Jarzab
Release Date: Oct. 8, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Press / Random House
Received: This was either purchased or a gift. I forget.
(I also may have had an e-ARC at one point. Again, I forget. If I did, my review comes from my own copy, though!)

Everything repeats.
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.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, TANDEM is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.