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As the site of a former military base, there have always been rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. For years, students have whispered in the hallways of a doorway created within the school, one that can access multiple timelines and realities, a place known as the Down World. As the new kid in school and still reeling from t As the site of a former military base, there have always been rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. For years, students have whispered in the hallways of a doorway created within the school, one that can access multiple timelines and realities, a place known as the Down World. As the new kid in school and still reeling from the unexplained death of her brother Robbie, Marina O'Connell is only interested in one thing: leaving the past behind. But a chance encounter with handsome Brady Picelli changes everything. He will lead Marina to a startling discovery. The Down World is real and the past, present, and future are falling out of balance. Brady is determined to help Marina discover what really happened to her brother. However, what is taken from one world, must be repaid by another. And Marina is about to discover that even a realm of infinite possibilities has rules that must be obeyed.


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As the site of a former military base, there have always been rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. For years, students have whispered in the hallways of a doorway created within the school, one that can access multiple timelines and realities, a place known as the Down World. As the new kid in school and still reeling from t As the site of a former military base, there have always been rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. For years, students have whispered in the hallways of a doorway created within the school, one that can access multiple timelines and realities, a place known as the Down World. As the new kid in school and still reeling from the unexplained death of her brother Robbie, Marina O'Connell is only interested in one thing: leaving the past behind. But a chance encounter with handsome Brady Picelli changes everything. He will lead Marina to a startling discovery. The Down World is real and the past, present, and future are falling out of balance. Brady is determined to help Marina discover what really happened to her brother. However, what is taken from one world, must be repaid by another. And Marina is about to discover that even a realm of infinite possibilities has rules that must be obeyed.

30 review for Down World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Just finished an Unboxing & Review Video for a PR box sent from St Martin's Press along with Once Upon a Book Club's March boxes (YA & Adult)! And whew! What a wild ride. LOVED LOVED LOVED the books this round! (Also, fun fact: Down World was my pick as a reading rep for OUABC!!) My reading rep code: MIRANDAREADS10 The Written Review It's been four years but Marina O'Connell is still grieving the loss of her older brother. Her new high school (East Township High) is on the grounds of an Just finished an Unboxing & Review Video for a PR box sent from St Martin's Press along with Once Upon a Book Club's March boxes (YA & Adult)! And whew! What a wild ride. LOVED LOVED LOVED the books this round! (Also, fun fact: Down World was my pick as a reading rep for OUABC!!) My reading rep code: MIRANDAREADS10 The Written Review It's been four years but Marina O'Connell is still grieving the loss of her older brother. Her new high school (East Township High) is on the grounds of an old military base and it hurts just a little every time she does something that her brother should have been by her side for. While she may be "the new kid", she isn't blind. There's graffiti all over the school about the "DW" or the "Down World" and...she doesn't know what is up with it but it is weird. Brady - the cute guy at her school - decides to help her out and brings her to the boiler room of the school. There's three doors. One labeled Yesterday. One labeled Today. One labeled Tomorrow. She opens all three. Yesterday and Tomorrow are bricked over...but Today? Today opens a door into another world and her brother is in it. Whewwwww! This was a weird one but a good one. The characters well well-fleshed-out and interesting. I really liked Marina and the side characters held their ground. The development worked really well in this book - it really felt like the characters grew from where they started. The plot overshadowed all else and there were a few times that my heart was racing. There were areas that were confusing to me but the book rounded it out well. The ending fit really well for the story. With thanks to Netgalley for sending me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️

    A portal to a parallel universe! The following ratings are out of 5: Romance: ❤️💙💜💛 Heat/Steam: N/A Story/Plot: 📕📗📘📙📔 World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌏 Character development: 👤👤👤👤👤 The setting: East Township High The heroine: Marina O’Connell - her brother Robbie died when he was 14 and she was 12 years old. He was hit by a train. Their mother has been depressed ever since and blames Kieren who was Robbie’s best friend. He was also Marina’s friend until Robbie and Kieren got too old to hang out with his younger sis A portal to a parallel universe! The following ratings are out of 5: Romance: ❤️💙💜💛 Heat/Steam: N/A Story/Plot: 📕📗📘📙📔 World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌏 Character development: 👤👤👤👤👤 The setting: East Township High The heroine: Marina O’Connell - her brother Robbie died when he was 14 and she was 12 years old. He was hit by a train. Their mother has been depressed ever since and blames Kieren who was Robbie’s best friend. He was also Marina’s friend until Robbie and Kieren got too old to hang out with his younger sister. The Hero(s): Brady - Senior at East Township High, his girlfriend disappeared after leaving on a train. It had something to do with DW. Kieren Senior at East Township and Robbie’s best friend. Robbie and Marina’s mother blames him for pushing Robbie in front of the train. Kieren wants forgiveness from Marina and maybe something else. The Love Story: Marina meets Brady Picelli on her first day at East Township High. She develops a crush on him. Days later she sees some strange things and is led to a place in the basement of the school which leads to an alternate reality. Eventually Brady and Kieren begin helping her find out what really happened to Robbie. This is a very weird story. It is tragic and crazy and all kinds of creepy. Though I don’t really want to give anything about the plot away. I went into this after only reading the blurb, so I want others to have the same experience. The blurb says it is stranger things meets the Netflix series Dark. I haven’t seen Dark but I have seen stranger things and it is similar in that they both kind of deal with an alternate reality. Down world seems like a traditional alternate reality (where it is the same people as on earth, but possibly their path through life might be different based on choices or timing, or all the minute little things that can happen). Either way it differs from the alternate reality in Stranger Things which is like a world where alien beings exist. Though I can see why they are compared. It seems closer to the 90’s TV show Sliders in many ways though. This was certainly interesting and would make for an awesome movie! It isn’t just that these people can go into an alternate reality but there are rules and mysteries and a dilemma to figure out. So there is plenty going on that needs to be resolved. I was definitely fascinated throughout the story. It got very involved and complex but never boring! I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own. Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Instagram|Twitter|BookBub

  3. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    You comp a book to Stranger Things and you know I am going to read it! Plus, this cover? Yes, please! Thank you so much, Wattpad Books, for the ARC copy. I am looking forward to this one! You comp a book to Stranger Things and you know I am going to read it! Plus, this cover? Yes, please! Thank you so much, Wattpad Books, for the ARC copy. I am looking forward to this one!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Walton

    I rarely read sci-fi (and almost never watch it) but I was too tempted by the summary to let this one go. It had elements of Stranger Things and Coraline and more traditional YA contemporary, all of which are good things. Reading Down World reminded of what it felt like picking up Delirium for the first time as a teen and being completely sucked into the world it created. My heart was literally racing at certain points reading it and I emotionally responded to the characters in an entirely organ I rarely read sci-fi (and almost never watch it) but I was too tempted by the summary to let this one go. It had elements of Stranger Things and Coraline and more traditional YA contemporary, all of which are good things. Reading Down World reminded of what it felt like picking up Delirium for the first time as a teen and being completely sucked into the world it created. My heart was literally racing at certain points reading it and I emotionally responded to the characters in an entirely organic way, my feelings happening before I could remind myself that it was just a book. I loved this. Maybe it's because I don't usually read sci-fi, maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a book that I felt like I lived in every time I picked it up, maybe it's because this is just a really good novel. I'm not really sure, but I stand by it being one of my favorite reads of 2020 so far. Thank you to the publisher, author, and Smith Publicity for the eARC! (I'm about to put in my pre-order now so I can have this on my bookshelf.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Fierce

    I received an ARC ebook copy for review, my rating and review honest, unbiased, etc., My very first NetGalley review! 😎 Down World is the debut novel by Rebecca Phelps. It can be described as a YA coming-of-age science-fiction thriller in the vein of Netflix series Dark with a few elements reminiscent of Stranger Things. I enjoyed Down World from beginning to end and though it had a few moments that felt exactly like what it is - a debut novel - I've decided on a 4. I like the characters, the sett I received an ARC ebook copy for review, my rating and review honest, unbiased, etc., My very first NetGalley review! 😎 Down World is the debut novel by Rebecca Phelps. It can be described as a YA coming-of-age science-fiction thriller in the vein of Netflix series Dark with a few elements reminiscent of Stranger Things. I enjoyed Down World from beginning to end and though it had a few moments that felt exactly like what it is - a debut novel - I've decided on a 4. I like the characters, the setting and the mystery this first book set up, and want to read the rest of the series (-- which should say a lot because I have so many books to read already!). Down World centers on Marina O'Connell, the new kid in town. Her new high school a former military base with rumors of experiments with space and time. 3 Doors: Door 1: Yesterday Door 2: Today Door 3: Tomorrow Door 4: The Bathroom (naw just kidding!, but maybe!? :) So, Marina and a couple guys she might like and a gal or two and a few adult peers get caught up in a time-travel version of the chicken and the egg story with a focused narrative on plot threads and teen romance. I like Marina and her friends. They were all just likeable and frustrating enough to really believe they are teens. Their motivations, understandings and experiences age-appropriate. This is not a straight Horror novel. It has a dark tone and though the science-fiction aspects are pretty frightening it reads more like a paranormal YA mystery-thriller in tone than Horror or Sci-fi. Rebecca Phelps is a writer to watch. Her passion for her characters and for telling her story are her driving strengths here. I think her storytelling future looks even more promising. Thanks NetGalley and Rebecca Phelps for the ARC. I look forward to obtaining the paperback edition when I can. The official release date is March 30, 2021. Should go without saying, Recommended to fans of the Dark television series as well as the more YA-audience side of Stranger Things fans of teens and adults!

  6. 4 out of 5

    ale ♡

    stranger things x dark, ok, don't let me down or i'll riot, ok? stranger things x dark, ok, don't let me down or i'll riot, ok?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    Down World is a highly engaging thriller with a dynamic cast of High Schoolers on the edge of discovering a long-kept secret by local officials and those who already knew! Marina is changing schools. No longer is the tuition for the private school affordable and her parents are sending her to Town Ship High. Leaving behind her friends, she runs into kids she has not seen in years since her elementary years and the fateful accident of her brother Robbie. Town Ship High was once a military facility Down World is a highly engaging thriller with a dynamic cast of High Schoolers on the edge of discovering a long-kept secret by local officials and those who already knew! Marina is changing schools. No longer is the tuition for the private school affordable and her parents are sending her to Town Ship High. Leaving behind her friends, she runs into kids she has not seen in years since her elementary years and the fateful accident of her brother Robbie. Town Ship High was once a military facility to house scientific developments years ago and Brady is the first she runs into on her first day at school and also the one who will open new realms of a secret world to her. With a glimmer of hope of making new friends, she does not expect what is to come. There have been rumors about a doorway in the school that would lead to multiple timelines to a place called Down World. When Marina’s mother disappears, she discovers that there is a possibility to find her brother in a different timeline, so she lies to her father to follow rumors of a mystical hotel that should give her the answers she seeks and perhaps solve the disappearance of her mother as well. What she can’t imagine is that more portals to these parallel worlds have been opened and before she knows it, she’s on the path that descends deeply into other timelines. But everything has its price and certain rules must be obeyed or like a ripple effect, her actions will change the past, present, and future. * This is a fast-paced, high-interest ride for those with a knack for the paranormal. The school setting and cult-like discoveries imbue the feel of recent shows made with an 80’s vibe. Not a minute to rest, there is action around most corners in this novel fueled with mystery and a dash of angst and heart. I loved the concept of the old military abandoned building used in a school setting and though the premise isn’t new perhaps, this novel drew from many different aspects of paranormal stances and combined them into one very readable nugget perfect for teen / young adult readers. When looking for the next read for those reluctant readers or you enjoy rebel characters and a bit of that metaphysical, give this a try. For fast reading, a definite recommend. I received a digital copy of this novel for review from Netgalley in exchange for a voluntary and honest review. All opinions are my own. More of my reviews here: Through Novel Time & Distance

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ishmeen

    "Stranger Things meets the Netflix series Dark" SIGN ME UP Y'ALL UPDATE - BLESS NETGALLEY FOR APPROVING MY REQUEST YO IT MADE MY DAY "Stranger Things meets the Netflix series Dark" SIGN ME UP Y'ALL UPDATE - BLESS NETGALLEY FOR APPROVING MY REQUEST YO IT MADE MY DAY

  9. 4 out of 5

    Creya

    This is being compared to the Netflix series Dark??! I NEED IT.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessi Joachim

    *Thank you Netgalley for providing me this ARC for review* I REALLY wanted to love this. The premise was fantastic and really reminded me of a YA Dark Matter, but sadly it kind of fell flat. The first half was really weak and I almost DNFed the book. We follow Marina, and literally in the first 5 pages she is " in love" with a guy she just met. The first part of this book is SO choppy and jumpy and I honestly didn't connect with any characters. We span almost a year I think in the course of a few *Thank you Netgalley for providing me this ARC for review* I REALLY wanted to love this. The premise was fantastic and really reminded me of a YA Dark Matter, but sadly it kind of fell flat. The first half was really weak and I almost DNFed the book. We follow Marina, and literally in the first 5 pages she is " in love" with a guy she just met. The first part of this book is SO choppy and jumpy and I honestly didn't connect with any characters. We span almost a year I think in the course of a few pages and we are supposed to relate to Marina and care about her weird love triangle but I just didn't. The 2nd half was better, but it was still a bit convoluted and left too many questions unanswered. The science of it all didn't fully make sense to me, but that could be because I am not a science minded person so I give that a pass. I did appreciate the ending, even though the resolution seemed a bit too simple and some of the conflict didn't feel developed enough. All in all, this is a good story that was fast paced and had so much potential. It just felt like a rough draft to me though

  11. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    Stranger Things meets Dark in this paranormal thriller where three mysterious doors in a highschool basement hold the key to unlocking the mystery of what really happened the night Marina's brother died... and the rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram Stranger Things meets Dark in this paranormal thriller where three mysterious doors in a highschool basement hold the key to unlocking the mystery of what really happened the night Marina's brother died... and the rumors that East Township High School was the site of experiments with space and time. Blog • Goodreads • Twitter • Instagram

  12. 5 out of 5

    katie ❀

    Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an eARC of Down World in exchange for an honest review. When Marina enters the doors of East Township High, she finds it odd that the school was once the site of a top-secret military base that experimented on the principles of space and time. Students have whispered of the three doors that lead to a world that can manipulate timelines and other universes—Down World. After an encounter with another student, Brady, she discovers that Down World Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing an eARC of Down World in exchange for an honest review. When Marina enters the doors of East Township High, she finds it odd that the school was once the site of a top-secret military base that experimented on the principles of space and time. Students have whispered of the three doors that lead to a world that can manipulate timelines and other universes—Down World. After an encounter with another student, Brady, she discovers that Down World is real, and the parallel realities of the past, present, and future are descending into chaos. Brady is determined to help Marina find out the truth about what really happened the night her brother disappeared, assumed dead after a train accident. But Marina soon discovers that even a realm with no limits has rules that must be followed. Down World was a suspenseful, fast-paced thriller that had many plot twists. Although the world building was well done, the characters themselves left me disappointed. They were relatively simple, which made it challenging to relate to them. Overall, the concept had a lot of potential, but the storyline just moved too fast. One thing I had a lot of issues with was the characters. They weren’t very expressive, and felt one-dimensional at times. Marina’s voice sometimes sounded childish, and she made some rash decisions. Most importantly, there was almost no character growth, which made the story less meaningful. Down World had a riveting storyline, and lots of unexpected surprises, but there were some times where it was complicated and confusingly worded. This book didn’t word for me very well, or paranormal fiction just isn’t my cup of tea.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Down World in exchange for an honest review. Down World is so cool in concept, but in execution, it's too underdeveloped. The world here is complex and mind bending but instead of letting us revel in it, we're quickly thrown from plot point to plot point. We learn our protagonist's brother is 'dead'. She starts high school, thinking about how he should be there with her and potential to examine her relationship with him is quickly side tracked to i Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Down World in exchange for an honest review. Down World is so cool in concept, but in execution, it's too underdeveloped. The world here is complex and mind bending but instead of letting us revel in it, we're quickly thrown from plot point to plot point. We learn our protagonist's brother is 'dead'. She starts high school, thinking about how he should be there with her and potential to examine her relationship with him is quickly side tracked to introduce a love interest. We find out something mysterious. We learn about that mystery via exposition the next chapter. Down World never quite trusts itself enough to let the reader revel in its plot, world, or characters and it really is a shame, because there's just so much potential here.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)

    I received a copy of this title from Netgalley, jn exchange for an honest review. Wow, from the first page, I was hooked. Down World is such a unique read, it transports you into a place where multiple universes aren't something to be messed with. And how they can change everything. I love our protagonist. She is brave and funny and honest. She has survived so much in her short life and you can see that it grates on her. Kieran is amazing too, in the beginning I was team Brady, but once we got to I received a copy of this title from Netgalley, jn exchange for an honest review. Wow, from the first page, I was hooked. Down World is such a unique read, it transports you into a place where multiple universes aren't something to be messed with. And how they can change everything. I love our protagonist. She is brave and funny and honest. She has survived so much in her short life and you can see that it grates on her. Kieran is amazing too, in the beginning I was team Brady, but once we got to know Kieran, I was sold. He is stoic and gentle and kind. Not to mention fiercely protective. Down World is fast paced and well written. If sci-fi is your go to, then pick up this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Whisper19

    Thanks to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for ARC in exchange for an honest review. Just no. Down World is a novel that wants to be an interesting, convoluted story full of twists and turns. But by wanting to be that, the novel forgot that you need some growth, otherwise the twists and turns just end up being a rollercoaster that just deposits you where you started from. In Down World we follow a teenage girl called Marina who is just returning to her local school after spending some time at a private Thanks to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for ARC in exchange for an honest review. Just no. Down World is a novel that wants to be an interesting, convoluted story full of twists and turns. But by wanting to be that, the novel forgot that you need some growth, otherwise the twists and turns just end up being a rollercoaster that just deposits you where you started from. In Down World we follow a teenage girl called Marina who is just returning to her local school after spending some time at a private school after her brother died. On her first day at school, she meets a handsome young boy. She is also faced with the memories of her life from before everything changed. We also see that her family has been suffering in the years since the accident. One day while at school she sort of sees something and then ends up investigating the things, e voilà she is told that there is a portal to another world on the school grounds. And somehow all of this is connected to her brother. What follows is a twist after a twist, followed by a turn, and then a loophole, and then “we’re not really here” moments and there’s even a “he’s not his son!” revelation… Just no. This book has entirely too many things happen in the span of fewer than 370 pages! The author needed a clear plan and she just needed to stick to it. In the description it says it’s for the fans of Stranger Things and Dark. As I haven’t watched Stranger Things, I can’t speak for them, but as a MASSIVE fan of Dark, I gotta say no, this is not for us. The reason why we LOVED Dark was not the fact that the story was convoluted, but that the convoluted story had a plan, a point, a clear direction, and was done in a very smart way. If you want something like Dark, just go on Netflix and watch the original once more. Now, I don’t want to go into spoilers, but I need to rant a little bit here. 1) Her brother supposedly died after running in front of a train. They buried an empty coffin because “there was nothing left to bury.” How freakin’ fast are those trains going for the impact to be strong enough to vaporize a body? 2) Marina thinking things like these: “This was the moment I had been waiting for, and I didn’t know if I was strong enough to hear it.” Trust me, you’re 16 or 17, you’re not strong enough, it’s just that your author doesn’t really realize that and has superimposed her own age onto you. Do you honestly know any 16-year-olds who think that? Or behave like this one? I don’t and I spend my time surrounded by teenagers as I teach in a high school. 3) Marina has been planning a trip to Oregon for weeks now, setting up a fake story for her dad, setting up her assistant… but she never considered the fact that she would need to sleep somewhere or that she would need to find the people she was going to visit. Can you say, “dumb teenager much?” 4) At one point Marina’s mum has disappeared, her father is in “detention” because his wife is gone and his daughter was missing, a strange military installation has miraculously replaced the school but she’s “happy” because she’s lying next to a boy who is kissing her? Really? Priorities! Also, 10 pages before and 10 pages after she is making googly eyes at another boy. 5) Piper decides she will tell Marina what happened, but of course she has to do it “ab ovo” starting with the accident that claimed the lives of her parents, even though Marina, her brother and us all know the story. Just get to the point. 6) Every single woman is gorgeous, beautiful, moveiw star beautiful,..... we get it. 7) Random flashbacks! Especially the 4page one involving Marina, Robbie and her father visiting the mine as tourists. No! 8) Random statements: “skeletal eyes,” “Robbie saw our hands holding and he turned away.” HOLDING WHAT? 9) SHE. POKES. THE. GUARD. IN. THE. EYES! 10) “it’s a natural process with radioactive material. The nuclei are unstable. Proteins escaping and being repelled.” he says while looking at a beaker of pink glowy liquid. The fuck is this guy on about? So, all in all, it’s a no from me I’m sad to say. I wanted to like this book, after all the blurb promised smart intrigue and parallel worlds, but it seems that this year when it comes to that I’m 0 for 2. Better luck with next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I recieved an arc from Edelweiss 2.3 After Marina's brother, Robbie, died on the train tracks, nothing has been right. Her mother is only half there, there's a whole in her family and in her life, and she hasn't even be able to speak to her and Robbie's old friend- the one who was there when he died. The one who might have been responsible. But when she finds her way into a secret, a portal to an alternate present, she realizes that things aren't quite what they seem. And Robbie might not be dead I I recieved an arc from Edelweiss 2.3 After Marina's brother, Robbie, died on the train tracks, nothing has been right. Her mother is only half there, there's a whole in her family and in her life, and she hasn't even be able to speak to her and Robbie's old friend- the one who was there when he died. The one who might have been responsible. But when she finds her way into a secret, a portal to an alternate present, she realizes that things aren't quite what they seem. And Robbie might not be dead I can see why this was marketed as being similar to Stranger Things, though I don't think it's really a good comparison. But it does involve dark alternate worlds where people can become trapped, so if that's your main interest in Stranger Things, then you might jump for joy at the idea of this book. I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan of this book. It wasn't one I enjoyed reading or one with a story that did anything for me. There are a few things I liked, but they're overshadowed. I like the general concept. Portals underneath a school that let you peer into another version of your life is really interesting. And the whole idea of seeing a girl get on a train with no luggage, and then be announced as missing, adds an eery, mysterious quality. But while things remain dark and confusing, it's mostly not in a way that made me want to read it. The portals are confusing with no attempt to explain them, the other two portals are never brought into the story though they're mentioned constantly, the secret society and their larger secret are both so flat that they make almost no sense. I don't think most of this book was thought through. No one has any depth as characters, none of the relationships make sense or have chemistry, and even the threats are too flimsy and vague. I kept waiting for things to pick up and tie together, or get a good explanation of what was happening and why, but they didn't. This is yet another book I think younger, more thrill-centered readers are going to like a lot more than I did. But if you ask "why" a lot, or like a lot of nuance, this isn't one you're probably going to enjoy reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    This is a hard book to rate it’s a soft 3 but I can’t bring myself to mark it that way in the official tally. “Dark World” follows Marina as she works to overcome the grief of losing her brother when he mysteriously died on the train tracks when he was 14 and when she returns to high school she finds notes written about something called the DW and finds herself face to face with the possibility of finding out what happened to her brother that night and faces the consequences of what it means to This is a hard book to rate it’s a soft 3 but I can’t bring myself to mark it that way in the official tally. “Dark World” follows Marina as she works to overcome the grief of losing her brother when he mysteriously died on the train tracks when he was 14 and when she returns to high school she finds notes written about something called the DW and finds herself face to face with the possibility of finding out what happened to her brother that night and faces the consequences of what it means to mess with fate. I think this was a nice idea that needed a little more ironing out especially when it came to the science. I appreciate the attempt to explain this odd occurrence and parallel universes as a whole with actual science, whether any of it is based on fact I don’t know, but it was nice to see that effort however it was hard to follow. The back and forth between entering this world and how it could affect the “main” reality was fascinating especially when it all began to unravel though I am sad that with the ending it made it so that it was all pointless and what the characters truly wanted was erased entirely which sets a lot of their own growth/arcs back quite a bit. That being said I think the characters were extremely lacking in actual depth at times the main character and the female characters in general came across as very childlike apart from the mother who even when she was center stage never had too much to do other than be a commanding presence for a few beats before shuffling offscreen which was a shame. I don’t know what to make of this one there were a lot of those Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Dopplegangland” meets Flatliners like moments which I think could have been something if the character work was handled better but unfortunately I can’t judge it on potential. **special thanks to the publishers and netgalley for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review**

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris C

    I loved this book! I normally gravitate to fantasy, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the mystery and other-world element of this story hooked me. Lots of other reviews went into the plot, so I won't bother to do that here. I disagree with the comments that the characters weren't fleshed out. I loved these characters! They felt real. Marina, like a true teenager, is caught between childhood and becoming an adult. Her choices keep the story moving and spiraling out of her control. I LOVE Brady I loved this book! I normally gravitate to fantasy, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but the mystery and other-world element of this story hooked me. Lots of other reviews went into the plot, so I won't bother to do that here. I disagree with the comments that the characters weren't fleshed out. I loved these characters! They felt real. Marina, like a true teenager, is caught between childhood and becoming an adult. Her choices keep the story moving and spiraling out of her control. I LOVE Brady! I love that Phelps (the author) created these deep characters with backstories and flaws, makes you fall in love with them, and then turns all the tropes around. This was NOT the ending I was expecting. It's not the boring Hollywood ending. It'll tear at your gut, yet it leaves you with hope. Where Marina is at the end of the book and the people who surround her are not what you assume in the beginning. I love the clashing worlds and history and the tie in to the "underwood" and the River Styx with the train. Phelps weaves mythology and science into a mysterious, dark journey that made me want to immediately pick up the sequel. There better be a sequel!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tom Schaniel

    I think the quality on Wattpad is very variable, but this was an outstanding YA fantasy fiction. Interesting fantasy/sci-fi (alternate reality) twists, along with interesting personal interplay between characters that seemed true to being a teenager.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Doreen

    3/30/2021 Full review tk at The Frumious Consortium.net. 3/31/2021 And here I thought I'd broken my streak of being grumpy with the science in speculative fiction novels! Granted, my last read, Oliver K Langmead's terrific Birds Of Paradise, never pretended at being scientific, to its credit. But here I am reviewing another novel with half-baked scientific ideas that could have just been hand-waved entirely once we'd gotten past the quantum planes theory: instead, we're fed the idea that the prot 3/30/2021 Full review tk at The Frumious Consortium.net. 3/31/2021 And here I thought I'd broken my streak of being grumpy with the science in speculative fiction novels! Granted, my last read, Oliver K Langmead's terrific Birds Of Paradise, never pretended at being scientific, to its credit. But here I am reviewing another novel with half-baked scientific ideas that could have just been hand-waved entirely once we'd gotten past the quantum planes theory: instead, we're fed the idea that the protagonist's mother is secretly a groundbreaking physicist a la Marie Curie whose one! ONE! act of science is the ONE-time building of a chemical key that opens a portal to a parallel plane of existence much like our own. Down World starts out really well. Marina O'Connell is transferring to East Township High School, built over the site of a 1940s military installation. It's a weird, twisting complex, and when she gets lost on her first day, she's relieved and flattered to be rescued by Brady Picelli, who's happy to help her figure out how to get to her classes. But making friends turns out to be harder than she'd expected, so when she notices him and his girlfriend Piper sneaking off campus one day, she impulsively decides to follow. She's somewhat taken aback when they head to the railroad station where her brother died several years ago. Piper gets on a train west, before Brady notices Marina spying on them. The next day, the entire town is abuzz: Piper has gone missing and her distraught parents don't know what to do. Marina wants to come clean but Brady begs her not to, and brings her to Down World by way of explanation. Located deep beneath the school is a portal to an alternate reality that the students -- or those students in the know, at least -- call Down World. Marina walks through to a world where her brother is still alive and her parents aren't mere shells of themselves, grieving their lost son. When she comes back out, Brady explains that Piper did something terrible in relation to Down World and has gone west to seek an answer. Little do Marina and Brady know that the answer will soon come back to their town and turn their entire lives upside down. Very cool premise, lots of twists and turns, but the plot relies too much on Marina doing stupid things in order to advance it. And the second half or so of the novel is just so seriously under-baked. So many excellent ideas and beats are smushed into the last ten percent of the book especially. I wanted to empathize with the characters as they faced all these sudden reversals and revelations but it was like watching scenes unfold outside the window of a speeding train, racing past so quickly that I could barely register what happened, never mind how anyone felt about anything. The book is readable but the pacing is weird, especially in relation to Marina's suddenly super-genius mom. It's a complete book, but it doesn't feel like a finished book to me, more's the pity. Down World by Rebecca Phelps was published March 30 2021 by Wattpad Books and is available from all good booksellers, including Bookshop! Want it now? For the Kindle version, click here.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This one was trippy to say the least and the closest to Sci-Fi I think I have read in a while. I can understand why fans of Strangers Things (I've only watched the first few episodes) enjoy it. At first, the concept seemed pretty simple after you realize what is actually going on with the train and missing kids. I thought, Oh, alternate universe, okay. She can just go visit her brother. Nope. Things start blending and melding and that got crazy. It was kind of scary in a Coraline sort of way. Li This one was trippy to say the least and the closest to Sci-Fi I think I have read in a while. I can understand why fans of Strangers Things (I've only watched the first few episodes) enjoy it. At first, the concept seemed pretty simple after you realize what is actually going on with the train and missing kids. I thought, Oh, alternate universe, okay. She can just go visit her brother. Nope. Things start blending and melding and that got crazy. It was kind of scary in a Coraline sort of way. Like things are just skewed a little until you are "home" but everything is warped. That is creepy in a way that is different than just being on a different planet, because you miss what you had and have to look at the people you love and they don't even know you. I understand why Marina was desperate to get Robbie back. I would do the same. I hate that her mother had that same desperation and left her. That would be heartbreaking for any child. And to come back to her dad being detained for her mother's disappearance. It's like no matter what reality she went to, it was getting worse and worse. The ending was bittersweet. (view spoiler)[ All that and she still didn't get her brother back. At least the sacrifice helped everyone else. (hide spoiler)]

  22. 4 out of 5

    Toronto Bibliophile

    Finished reading DOWN WORLD by Rebecca Phelps last week in 2020. Thank-you to Wattpad Books for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Official publication date is March 31st, 2021. This one grabbed my attention, as it is marketed for fans of Stranger Things. East Township High School used to be a military base and possibly a scientific experiment. Select students of this school have discovered secret doorways underneath the school that lead to Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, or better known a Finished reading DOWN WORLD by Rebecca Phelps last week in 2020. Thank-you to Wattpad Books for my ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. Official publication date is March 31st, 2021. This one grabbed my attention, as it is marketed for fans of Stranger Things. East Township High School used to be a military base and possibly a scientific experiment. Select students of this school have discovered secret doorways underneath the school that lead to Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, or better known around school as 'Down World'. Marina the new girl in school is grieving the unexplained death of her brother Robbie. But a chance encounter at school with the hottest guy Brady & the mysterious old friend Kieran, will result in Marina uncovering what really happened to her brother. Marina is about to learn that this 'Down World' that is whispered about, is real and the past, present, and future are falling out of balance. Even this world of possibilities has rules that must be followed and saving one life could mean losing another. This one had me hooked, and then I got lost a bit at the 2/3 mark...with the way the different doors worked and the main characters didn't really develop much. Overall an interesting story but left me a bit confused and feeling like I was missing something.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carissa

    So, I generally tend to stay away from Wattpad, because a) in its early conception, I had heard it was basically a bunch of thirteen year olds writing for other 13 year olds, and I'm definitely not 13 and b) I dont know too terribly much about it. I got this book through Once Upon A Book Club, and now, my whole view of Wattpad is totally changed. This book was amazing, and while I guessed certain parts, I was suprised at times and found my myself wowed. Very very cool, and I think I might have t So, I generally tend to stay away from Wattpad, because a) in its early conception, I had heard it was basically a bunch of thirteen year olds writing for other 13 year olds, and I'm definitely not 13 and b) I dont know too terribly much about it. I got this book through Once Upon A Book Club, and now, my whole view of Wattpad is totally changed. This book was amazing, and while I guessed certain parts, I was suprised at times and found my myself wowed. Very very cool, and I think I might have to go buy some of the books recommended in the back now.

  24. 5 out of 5

    riley peru

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Overall solid read, got it from Once Upon a Book Club box (gift from one of my teachers). It started off strong, but once the plot started to develope it lost my interest. There are many plot holes, a couple questions I have that will not be answered. The gifts I got in the box were adorable, which made the experience way better for me. Some of the characters were really annoying, it was hard to like them when most of their personalities are the same. Brady's character ending? Wtf? Not my favorit Overall solid read, got it from Once Upon a Book Club box (gift from one of my teachers). It started off strong, but once the plot started to develope it lost my interest. There are many plot holes, a couple questions I have that will not be answered. The gifts I got in the box were adorable, which made the experience way better for me. Some of the characters were really annoying, it was hard to like them when most of their personalities are the same. Brady's character ending? Wtf? Not my favorite read, but It was enteratining for the most part. 3/5 Stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather Pearson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This story line challenged me, but on a good way. It also creeped me out when the Nazi’s showed up. What, in America.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Niel (lonelectorem)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. THIS REVIEW MAY HAVE SOME MINOR SPOILERS Call it Multiverse, Parallel Worlds, or Alternative Realities; it's all the same! These are the topics that fascinate me the most. I have read dozens of articles and theories about it but this is the first book I read which has its main theme build around Parallel Worlds. The story of this book revolves around Marina and her family. She lost her brother, Robby, in a train accident and after many years she discovers something that gives her hope to bring he THIS REVIEW MAY HAVE SOME MINOR SPOILERS Call it Multiverse, Parallel Worlds, or Alternative Realities; it's all the same! These are the topics that fascinate me the most. I have read dozens of articles and theories about it but this is the first book I read which has its main theme build around Parallel Worlds. The story of this book revolves around Marina and her family. She lost her brother, Robby, in a train accident and after many years she discovers something that gives her hope to bring her brother back. Just after a while, her mother goes missing and Marina finds herself in a situation where she has to take risks of altering relatives to bring her loved ones back home. . I enjoyed this book as long as it concerned parallel worlds and the author used all the facts and theories very intelligently to give justice to the theme of the book. It started just too casually and with every chapter, Marina discovered some hidden truths and revelations that played a very significant part to push the story ahead. The way the portals worked, how our choices and decisions affect and create realities, and how they bring unexpected consequences, the author used all these elements and built a very good premise. For some reason, I didn't find its characters very strong or anything, and also, for the first time I detested a protagonist. Even other side characters contributed their best to the story but they missed the spark that I seek in characters. . I enjoy reading YA as long as they are friends or until they don't get too cringy to read. Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and its characters are one good example where I genuinely loved all the characters who will remain my favorites for a very long time. But, I didn't like it when the author tried to add a love triangle aspect, and to be honest, it wasn't necessary. Maybe it would work for other readers but if Marina were just friends with Kieren and Braddy then I might have liked it more. WHY AM I SAYING THIS? here's a practical explanation: how likely a character supposed think about her chemistry with other boys, kiss them and share her bedroom when her brother and mother is missing, and her father is in police custody for the suspicions of her mother's disappearance? At least I couldn't get the point to add this love aspect to the story. ANOTHER REASON: This book has an intense story pace and there's all seriousness around, realities changing, characters missing and many problems that the protagonist faced; somewhere between that this love angle kind of ruined the reading experience for me. I guess the authors should consider the seriousness of the plot and try to avoid such unnecessary elements. Do I sound like I am highly criticizing this book? I am sorry about that, I already mentioned all the best things that I loved about it but there's also something that I liked about this book. Just after disappointing me with that love triangle element, the author thrilled me the way she changed the course of the story. The most favorite part that has me the most goosebumps was when Marina discovered the train that travels in all the dimensions. Here's why I will recommend this book: I am impressed by the author's knowledge of the parallel universe and the way realities function in it. She thoroughly presented the ideas and put them into action very smoothly. It was gripping and very fast pace and every time the world or realities changed, it brought some kind of newness to the book. It can be a good read for someone who has interests in time travel and parallel worlds.

  27. 4 out of 5

    mary

    Thank you to netgalley for the eARC! Content warning: death The writing in this book was lovely - the descriptions made it clear about the dystopian style the author was going for, and it made reading about the down worlds interesting. However, my main issue lies with the structure and plot of the book. It was very jumpy, almost as if it were going for a quick pace but was unsuccessful in doing so. I found it hard to really engage in the plot and be interested in it because half of the time, I di Thank you to netgalley for the eARC! Content warning: death The writing in this book was lovely - the descriptions made it clear about the dystopian style the author was going for, and it made reading about the down worlds interesting. However, my main issue lies with the structure and plot of the book. It was very jumpy, almost as if it were going for a quick pace but was unsuccessful in doing so. I found it hard to really engage in the plot and be interested in it because half of the time, I didn't fully understand what was going on. As for the characters, I didn't seem to care for any of them. In the first few pages of the book, our main character declares herself in love with someone she just met, and then goes on to try and convince him to leave his girlfriend of multiple years for her: she was just unlikeable. She also seemed to always know everything, which was frustrating to read. How did someone who has only just been introduced to the down worlds suddenly know everything about them and how to deal with them? Ultimately, I think I was just not a right fit for this book. I think the author had a good premise, but ultimately failed in the execution.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shravani Gaikwad

    Book Name: Down World Author Name: Rebecca Phelps Goodreads rating: 3.74 Review: Unputdownable. That's the only word that my mind could reach out to while the book allured it like the characters were allured to Down World. You know those books, yes, those are the ones, the ones whom you read for only 20 pages and know that you are in trouble because you just know that this one is going to change you whole and stay with you forever? Down World will do that to you my friend, trust me on that one. Book Name: Down World Author Name: Rebecca Phelps Goodreads rating: 3.74 Review: Unputdownable. That's the only word that my mind could reach out to while the book allured it like the characters were allured to Down World. You know those books, yes, those are the ones, the ones whom you read for only 20 pages and know that you are in trouble because you just know that this one is going to change you whole and stay with you forever? Down World will do that to you my friend, trust me on that one. So I think it's evident from my previous review that I list out all the things I liked and the all the things that I didn't. Well, for this one, you are not going to find any mistakes or unlikely topics or anything that's just not perfect. Because this book was the epitome of Perfect. With a capital P. So shall I list out all the obvious facts that made this book perfect and should be listed in top 10 Science Fiction list? Yes, I most definitely shall. Here it goes: • The plot: I felt like the plot is so strong and it has got so many elements and yet it didn't feel like an overload of information nor did it feel like malnutritioned info. Every piece of puzzle every bit of knowledge of the world this world is gifted to you just at the right moment. And if this doesn't make a book worth reading I don't know what does. Moreover, the plot is completely Original and so carefully woven that you won't find one mistake/flaw/loophole in the story. • The Characters: Take your pick here: Marina, Brady, Kieran, Piper, Robbie, Ana, Sage, John, George or even Marina's dad. Whoever you pick is a uniquely formed character. They play their role just right and everyone is introduced to at the right moment. All of them connected to one or another just so that it fits the storyline. The characters are so unique and just plain raw that I was in awe of the character building. You get to know them so well and you can even predict at times what the other may do. And that's exactly what we love, right? Making friends with our idols? • The Elements of the Plot: The elements of this book fell into sync with each other the way the a thousand musical notes fall into sync with each other to form one wonderfully sung song. There were so many elements: The three portal doors, the train portal, the lake portal, the mysterious disappearance of Marina's mom, Down World itself and so many other wonderful things that over time while reading you just fall so deep into the trap of this book that it's hard to break back. So folks, my dear dear readers, bookstgrammers, grab this read right now because you don't want to miss this one trust me on that one. Need more reassurance to read this one? Then grab Down World by Rebecca Phelps if you love the following: • Portals • A billion different dimensions/ planes • Love triangle • Strong, mysterious, alluring Science Fiction that also feels like a fantasy novel. • Addictive read • Alluring • Unputdownable • Smart, intelligent and headstrong heroine • Familial problems read • Unpredictable. • Just plain fantastic, perfect and awesome. • Masochist bookworms looking for a book that will make them cry. What more do you need? Jeez just go read this one. It will make your year. See you guys at the pages of a hopefully another heartwrenching book. All my love, Shravani. P.S. In case you guys didn't notice that's my custom emojis, as in it's me cartoon style, hehe, bye! Thank you netgalley and Smith publicity for the ARC.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shanah

    For this review and many others, please visit - https://bionicbookwormblog.wordpress.com Some books you know you’re going to like. But then some books (like this one) come out of nowhere and blindside you with how much you liked it!! The synopsis sounds great. And it’s been described as “Stranger Things” meets…. something….. I can’t remember what it was…. but you had me at Stranger Things, and I feel like that was quite accurate – minus the demigorgon and the bad ass Eleven character with her fan For this review and many others, please visit - https://bionicbookwormblog.wordpress.com Some books you know you’re going to like. But then some books (like this one) come out of nowhere and blindside you with how much you liked it!! The synopsis sounds great. And it’s been described as “Stranger Things” meets…. something….. I can’t remember what it was…. but you had me at Stranger Things, and I feel like that was quite accurate – minus the demigorgon and the bad ass Eleven character with her fantastic abilities. What I’m really trying to say is – this was a HUGE surprise and I really loved this! I had just finished reading a book that was heavy in mystery, reality, and annoying teenage hormones. So I thought that I would pick up this book. It sounded sci-fi like and dark and it totally was. I did, however, almost throw the book across the room at page 8. Our main character is at a new school for the first time and is completely lost. Another student comes to the rescue (and of course he’s totally hot and she instantly falls in love with him. That’s not me assuming….. she literally says she’s in love with him after knowing him all of 5 minutes. Thankfully the teenage hormone trope and puke factor lessens after that! But safe to say, after wanting to DNF this book after only 8 pages, my hopes weren’t high. And maybe that’s why this book was such a surprise. But I don’t think that’s it. Number one – the pace was great! Something was always happening and propelling you forward. There were a lot of unknowns but it was never really presented in the way that it made you annoyed that you didn’t have all the answers at your fingertips. We pieced together this puzzle bit by bit, all the while getting new mysteries along the way. The writing style also vibed with me in a big way. It wasn’t “basic” but it wasn’t super complicated. I FLEW through this book so fast! Which impressed me in a big way because I’ve been in QUITE the reading slump lately. This book brought me out of my slump without even trying. As far as the plot – loved it! This was a bit like Stranger Things mixed together with a portal fantasy. We have doorways that open into alternate realities and the possibilities are endless. Someone you loved may have died in our own reality but when you walk through the doorway, there they are, alive and well. There are also consequences for actions. You stay too long and things start to happen. You take an item/person from one reality to the next and it can all fall apart. There were so many emotions thrown into the mix along with all the possibilities. You can find things that were once lost but in order to have it back, are you willing to pay the price and possibly put your own reality at risk. And since these “doorways” were in a part of the school, there are many different generations who know of its power, so there are ways to find others that understand it more than you. Exploring all of this was SO well done! And even more well done was how the author wrote about the differences between worlds and built them up in their descriptions. It also didn’t necessarily go into the science of it all either. So if sci-fi scares you, there’s nothing to fear here! There were only two (small) things that made this book a 4 instead of a 5 star. And that’s the characters and the ending. There wasn’t one thing that I could pinpoint about the characters as a problem per se, but I just didn’t relate to them like I wanted to. They were fine. They were all easy to differentiate and you understood their personalities. But the emotional connection with them wasn’t there for me. And then there’s the ending. Once again – there’s nothing wrong with it really. It’s just one of those endings that finishes too quickly and leaves it all to your imagination then rolls the credits while showing you pictures of the characters telling you where they are now. It wrapped things up in the end, but it felt like there could have been another chapter or two putting it all together. This book will be loved by many I think. If you are looking for a quick read to bring you out of a slump, if you love multiverse or portal fantasy stories, or are just looking for an adventure with a side of suspended belief, this is one I think you need to read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawna Borman

    It’s the last Wednesday of the month, so it’s review time! I honestly only requested this month’s book because the cover was kind of thriller-esque. It turned out to be more soft sci-fi, which was a nice change. Down World by Rebecca Phelps was released yesterday (March 30th) from Wattpad Books. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. So, let’s get to it. Down World follows Marina as she enters a new school and struggles to lea It’s the last Wednesday of the month, so it’s review time! I honestly only requested this month’s book because the cover was kind of thriller-esque. It turned out to be more soft sci-fi, which was a nice change. Down World by Rebecca Phelps was released yesterday (March 30th) from Wattpad Books. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. So, let’s get to it. Down World follows Marina as she enters a new school and struggles to leave her past and the death of her brother behind her. When she realizes her new crush, Brady, and her brother’s old friend, Kieren, are hiding something, she finds herself in the middle of a weird new reality: doorways to different planes of existence, the potential of her brother actually being alive, and somehow it all connects back to her mother. As Marina delves deeper into these secrets, she has to face the past and make some difficult decisions that might completely change her present. I called this soft sci-fi because even though the science is discussed, it feels shaky at best. The characters are unsure of what’s going on and just guessing themselves, so the science feels like guesswork to the reader. I’m okay with that. I don’t mind letting the fiction drive the story. But I do know people who prefer hard sci-fi where the science drives everything and is possible. I don’t think this book is for them. But for my fiction-with-a-dab-of-science folks, this book had some definite Coraline (but for an older audience) vibes to it that were fun. The plot was okay. It had some nice twists and turns along the way. It wasn’t exactly surprising, but it wasn’t super predictable either. I figured out a lot early on, but there were a couple of things I didn’t catch until closer to their reveals. It was enough to keep the story interesting for me. At least moreso than the characters. They were all pretty flat and could’ve used some fleshing out. I just never really felt they were people as much as stereotypes. So yeah, the plot carries this story more than the characters. My biggest issue with this book was the pacing. The first third was beyond slow despite the lack of description (the whole book could’ve used more descriptions to help us picture the places and people). The second third felt really rushed, though I admit the description was better. Things didn’t seem to find a good rhythm until the last third. That’s always kind of annoying to me even though I know I’ve been guilty of it too. The writing itself was fine. It wasn’t exactly memorable. I finished the story a few days ago and am already having trouble remembering the finer details. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. No lines stuck out for quotes or anything. However, it was a fairly smooth read. Ultimately, Down World just wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s a standalone, so I don’t have to worry about reading another one. It does have the potential for other books set around the same premise, like a series of otherwise unconnected stories, but I won’t be looking for them if that happens. Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. If I’m being super honest, it’s 2 and a half stars. If you like YA sci-fi, you might enjoy this. I just happen to like books that are more fleshed out.

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