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The Art of Saving the World

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One girl and her doppelgangers try to stop the end of the world in this YA sci-fi adventure When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift tore open near her family’s home, which prompted immediate government attention. They soon learned that if Hazel strayed too far, the rift would become volatile and fling things from other dimensions onto their front lawn—or it c One girl and her doppelgangers try to stop the end of the world in this YA sci-fi adventure When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift tore open near her family’s home, which prompted immediate government attention. They soon learned that if Hazel strayed too far, the rift would become volatile and fling things from other dimensions onto their front lawn—or it could swallow up their whole town. As a result, Hazel has never left her small Pennsylvania town, and the government agents garrisoned on her lawn make sure it stays that way. On her sixteenth birthday, though, the rift spins completely out of control. Hazel comes face-to-face with a surprise: a second Hazel. Then another. And another. Three other Hazels from three different dimensions! Now, for the first time, Hazel has to step into the world to learn about her connection to the rift—and how to close it. But is Hazel—even more than one of her—really capable of saving the world?


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One girl and her doppelgangers try to stop the end of the world in this YA sci-fi adventure When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift tore open near her family’s home, which prompted immediate government attention. They soon learned that if Hazel strayed too far, the rift would become volatile and fling things from other dimensions onto their front lawn—or it c One girl and her doppelgangers try to stop the end of the world in this YA sci-fi adventure When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift tore open near her family’s home, which prompted immediate government attention. They soon learned that if Hazel strayed too far, the rift would become volatile and fling things from other dimensions onto their front lawn—or it could swallow up their whole town. As a result, Hazel has never left her small Pennsylvania town, and the government agents garrisoned on her lawn make sure it stays that way. On her sixteenth birthday, though, the rift spins completely out of control. Hazel comes face-to-face with a surprise: a second Hazel. Then another. And another. Three other Hazels from three different dimensions! Now, for the first time, Hazel has to step into the world to learn about her connection to the rift—and how to close it. But is Hazel—even more than one of her—really capable of saving the world?

30 review for The Art of Saving the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    It's out! It's out! I started writing this novel in 2015; it's been a long journey and I'm ever so glad to get to share it ... even though more than a week after release I'm still severely freaked out when I remember that aaaaaaaa my book exists in the world aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa But, since Goodreads is meant less for endless authorly screaming and more for reviews ... behold: Reviews! "Duyvis capably balances a zippy sci-fi plot that barrels along at a breathless pace with an intrigu It's out! It's out! I started writing this novel in 2015; it's been a long journey and I'm ever so glad to get to share it ... even though more than a week after release I'm still severely freaked out when I remember that aaaaaaaa my book exists in the world aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa But, since Goodreads is meant less for endless authorly screaming and more for reviews ... behold: Reviews! "Duyvis capably balances a zippy sci-fi plot that barrels along at a breathless pace with an intriguing look at how one girl in five different worlds could be both the same and different; Hazel multiplied is Hazel and un-Hazel in satisfying, thought-provoking ways." -The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books "The representation of mental health issues is at times so painfully accurate that the novel becomes difficult to read but at the same time, impossible to put down. Refreshingly, Duyvis finds time to discuss painful periods and what an endometriosis diagnosis means for a teenager. A midnovel twist takes the standard chosen-one plot formula and tips it on its head, then wrings what’s left for all the angst and existential crises it’s worth. A compelling narrative based around the subversion of generic fantasy and science fiction fodder." -Kirkus Reviews "Duyvis’ rich, layered character development — grounded in Hazel’s raw, first-person perspective — offers an authentic exploration of questioning sexuality and asexuality, what makes us who we are, and what our responsibilities are to ourselves and to others." -Booklist "Even if sci-fi isn’t your favourite genre, The Art of Saving the World by Corinne Duyvis will win you over with its intricate plot and relatable heroine." -PopSugar "The main characters are unique and empowering, and sure to entertain. … This is a fast-paced adventure story with the perfect mix of fantasy and coming-of-age realistic fiction." -School Library Journal "Duyvis subverts the Chosen One trope, with a hero thoroughly unprepared for her burden … [A] provocative, genre-bending look at exploring identity." -Publishers Weekly Oh, and since people asked: The protagonist is a questioning, asexual lesbian with undiagnosed anxiety.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    "anxious, asexual lesbians saving the world from an interdimensional rift alongside a grumpy lady dragon mentor" (x) "anxious, asexual lesbians saving the world from an interdimensional rift alongside a grumpy lady dragon mentor" (x)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    DNF at 29% I put this down at the end of October and just never felt like picking it up again. The story and the writing are fine, but didn't engage me enough to keep going. I've read and liked other books by Duyvis, but I just didn't click with this one. DNF at 29% I put this down at the end of October and just never felt like picking it up again. The story and the writing are fine, but didn't engage me enough to keep going. I've read and liked other books by Duyvis, but I just didn't click with this one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    iam

    I was drawn to this by the doppelgänger shenanigans and got an original view on the Chosen One trope and an intriguing and fresh take on the involvement of a mysterious government agency. Cannot recommend this enough! Check out this review and more on the blog! Content warnings include: violence and injury, (near) death experience, abduction/hostage situation/being held at gunpoint, imprisonment, panic and anxiety attack, medication; mentions of queerphobia, endometriosis. I recently read and loved I was drawn to this by the doppelgänger shenanigans and got an original view on the Chosen One trope and an intriguing and fresh take on the involvement of a mysterious government agency. Cannot recommend this enough! Check out this review and more on the blog! Content warnings include: violence and injury, (near) death experience, abduction/hostage situation/being held at gunpoint, imprisonment, panic and anxiety attack, medication; mentions of queerphobia, endometriosis. I recently read and loved The Space Between Worlds, which also features different dimensions of the same world clashing, and one of the things I enjoyed about it most was seeing multiple versions of the same person, the effects small and big differences can have on the same person, and which things remain the same regardless of circumstances. Now, despite both books having the same core concept, they couldn’t be more different. The Space Between Worlds is adult fiction, for one, while The Art of Saving the World is YA. Thematically the former deals with class, priviledge, race and (im)migration, while the latter is centered around the Chosen One trope and finding out who you really are, and what defines you. But the one central difference that I found most intriguing was that Cara (mostly) dealt with different versions of other people, while Hazel was surrounded by other versions of herself. Not only did that spark a big chunk of the more introspective part of the plot and the central character arc, it also was just super fascinating to read. All the little things that Hazel notices about the other Hazels, and which she hates – because she recognizes them as her own habits. My initial reaction to Hazel’s almost repulsed reaction to her doppelgängers was shock, but then it hit me. Because I absolutely would react the same way. I hate watching videos of myself, hate seeing my mannerisms and gestures and way of talking and textured skin and my own feelings…. and seeing all of that reflected times four, surrouding me constantly and not just when I look into a mirror in a controlled way, or in one of the very few videos of myself, sounds excruciating. It also made for a wonderful subject matter for a YA novel. That internal plot was a great balance to the more action packed plot around the interdimensional rift and why the other Hazels appeared in the first place! I won’t go into that, because finding out the why is a big part of the plot, but I will say that I found it a very nice and fresh take on the good old Chosen One trope. Another things that is common in a lot of novels but was handled in a super cool way here was the involvment of a ~mystery government agency~ (MGA – it really is called that in the book.) Because of course, if an interdimensional rift opens up in the US of A, the government would get its fingers into that pie ASAP. It would have been easy (and let’s be real, fitting) to just make the MGA the antagonists, maybe throw in some investors or corrupt senators, and it would have made a great plot. But The Art of Saving the World chose a different route, and it was unlike anything I’ve read before, which I adored. Government agencies in fiction tend to be either the villains or the unquestionable heros (and sometimes both, starting out as one and ending as the other.) Here they are neither, because Hazel grew up with it. The MGA is a part of her life. It’s annoying to constantly have an agent breathing down her neck, but the agents are also the only people allowed in the house aside from her family, and they are the ones who sing her Happy Birthday songs and such. But they are also the ones who keep her from seeing anyone not her father, mother, or sister, and they also almost shot her sister the one time she sneaked out. I don’t want to give more away, but I really adored the way it was handled! Overall I really enjoyed the book. The short chapters make it readable and lend themselves both to binging because they fly by so fast and to reading slowly or in between other things because it’s always easy to find your way back into the story and get a quick feeling of triumph for finishing a chapter after a short time. I highly recommend the book, both because of the above mentioned plot points that intrigued me, but also because it has quite lovely questioning rep, as the protagonist is a questioning asexual lesbian. She also had undiagnosed anxiety, which is thematized, and endometriosis is a topic as well. I received an ARC and reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    This is an incredibly fun take on the chosen one trope that has me craving more YA sci-fi. It was like reading a Doctor Who episode!

  6. 5 out of 5

    theresa

    Plot: When Hazel was born, the fabric of her world ripped open in her backyard. She’s spent her whole life unable to go further than 1.5 miles from her house which has become more like a military base. This all changes when on her 16th birthday when the rift becomes unstable and sends through Hazels from other dimensions and instructions for a quest. My thoughts: The Art of Saving the World was a unique take on the chosen one trope which seamlessly blended sci fi elements into the modern world and Plot: When Hazel was born, the fabric of her world ripped open in her backyard. She’s spent her whole life unable to go further than 1.5 miles from her house which has become more like a military base. This all changes when on her 16th birthday when the rift becomes unstable and sends through Hazels from other dimensions and instructions for a quest. My thoughts: The Art of Saving the World was a unique take on the chosen one trope which seamlessly blended sci fi elements into the modern world and followed a cast of distinct and relatable characters (which is particularly impressive as several of them are the same person). This book cleverly played with traditional storytelling methods and cliché plot devices and tropes to create something unique. I loved how it presented and subverted the typical expectations of the chosen one trope and conventional character roles, such as the mentor. These elements and discussions of what makes a good story were central to this book and really fun to read about. I also appreciated the representation in this book, with an asexual lesbian main character with anxiety. The book explored Hazel’s internal struggles of questioning her identity, especially when faced with a much more confident and outgoing version of herself. It also didn’t shy away from showing the difficulties of having anxiety, especially in such a high stakes situation. The sci fi elements easily blended into the modern world and presented an interesting setting and cast of characters. However, I found that the book was perhaps a bit longer than necessary and that it dragged a bit. And, honestly, I was bored at times. Although I sometimes related to the characters and enjoyed Hazel’s development, I didn’t really connect with any of them and struggled to care about them or the stakes in the book which took away some of my enjoyment. The Art of Saving the World was well crafted and had an interesting take on common storytelling methods and tropes. However, I just wasn’t invested in the story or characters which is essential for me to enjoy a book. This unfortunately meant that the book fell a bit flat for me. I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter *eARC received in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley*

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    I liked all the ideas here. The execution was... fine, I guess? I can't put my finger on anything that didn't work, I just wasn't very enthused while reading it. Like, when it is easy to put the book down and you feel no urgency about picking it up? Hazel seemed like a real, average person. The prose was neutral. The threatened end of the world was weak, but I think deliberately so. I liked all the ideas here. The execution was... fine, I guess? I can't put my finger on anything that didn't work, I just wasn't very enthused while reading it. Like, when it is easy to put the book down and you feel no urgency about picking it up? Hazel seemed like a real, average person. The prose was neutral. The threatened end of the world was weak, but I think deliberately so.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Dragons, doppelgangers, and dimensional rifts, oh my, this was a fun one indeed! While obviously the idea of the world literally ripping apart is pretty dire, the book still manages to have fun while being high stakes. The Hazel we're first introduced to has never been allowed to travel more than a mile and a half from her home, which is pretty brutal. The government discovered, upon her You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Dragons, doppelgangers, and dimensional rifts, oh my, this was a fun one indeed! While obviously the idea of the world literally ripping apart is pretty dire, the book still manages to have fun while being high stakes. The Hazel we're first introduced to has never been allowed to travel more than a mile and a half from her home, which is pretty brutal. The government discovered, upon her birth, that she was inexplicably and inextricably connected to the small rift by her family's farm. But despite their best efforts, the rip opens, and out pop more Hazels, and a dragon for good measure. Hazel(s) must now try to figure out whatever has caused this widening rift, and hopefully, save the world. Of course, things go off the rails fairly quickly, as the Hazels find some less supportive Hazels, along with a serious troll infestation wreaking havoc up and down the eastern seaboard. This is such a quirky and entertaining story, as all our Hazels, but especially OG Hazel, try to figure out their own natures versus nurtures. They cannot help but wonder who they would be if things were just ever so slightly different. OG Hazel wonders more than most, as she's quite literally been stuck at home, being watched constantly, her whole life. Can Hazel(s) save the world, while saving themselves and their family? Will they ever be able to get back to their original worlds? Do they even want to? Such a great adventure that kept me on my feet! Bottom Line: It's a sweet story about finding oneself while trying to save the world, and it's full of both heartwarming and heart-racing moments.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I LOVE this book. It takes a common trope found in fantasy and young adult (the chosen one who must save the world) and turns it on its head, because she isn’t Chosen, she’s chosen by those who pull the strings. It’s such an interesting concept, with Hazel having to save the world from a random threat that just jumps through a rift between worlds. I also love that the book really addresses sexuality and doesn’t brush over the topic. The Hazels have various sexualities. It even addresses asexuali I LOVE this book. It takes a common trope found in fantasy and young adult (the chosen one who must save the world) and turns it on its head, because she isn’t Chosen, she’s chosen by those who pull the strings. It’s such an interesting concept, with Hazel having to save the world from a random threat that just jumps through a rift between worlds. I also love that the book really addresses sexuality and doesn’t brush over the topic. The Hazels have various sexualities. It even addresses asexuality, which is often ignored in literature. Overall, an AMAZING book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    El

    Also posted on my blog! Rep: questioning asexual lesbian main character with undiagnosed anxiety, chinese-american side character, biracial chinese american side character, queer side characters with endometriosis & anxiety CW: panic attacks, homophobia, violence, hospitals, hospitalisation of a family member, comas, guns, government organisations, suicide I enjoyed reading this book! I was able to read it very quickly, and the story drew me in right from the start. The Art of Saving the World is a Also posted on my blog! Rep: questioning asexual lesbian main character with undiagnosed anxiety, chinese-american side character, biracial chinese american side character, queer side characters with endometriosis & anxiety CW: panic attacks, homophobia, violence, hospitals, hospitalisation of a family member, comas, guns, government organisations, suicide I enjoyed reading this book! I was able to read it very quickly, and the story drew me in right from the start. The Art of Saving the World is a fantasy story masquerading as sci-fi, which is something that the characters themselves are surprised by once this fact makes itself known. The mysterious government agency (or MGA, as it’s literally called in the book) are convinced that there’s a scientific explanation for the rift, but they’re wrong. I really liked the real explanation of what the rift is, why it’s there, and what makes Hazel so important. This book is an examination, possibly even a deconstruction, of the chosen one trope, and I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. Nothing about this book’s cover or description indicates that one of the major characters is literally a dragon. I was delighted at this surprise dragon, and she also turned out to be a very entertaining character to read about, which made it even better. The moment that I realised there was a dragon in this I put the book down so I could excitedly message my partner to let them know that the book I was reading had a dragon in it! Loving dragons is ace culture, that’s just how it is. Since this book’s publication Duyvis has talked openly about Neven’s existence, so I don’t consider it a spoiler even though her being there was a surprise to me, and I hope that there being a dragon in the book makes more people want to read it. (Also at one point the dragon takes a group selfie with the Hazels and that alone should make you want to read this book.) The interactions between the different Hazels was really interesting to read about! They all had things about them that were different, due to their different universes and circumstances, but they also all had a lot of similarities and it was interesting to see the POV Hazel – Hazel Prime – reacting to both the differences and similarities. Key things that I think are worth mentioning are specifically how she reacts to ‘Rainbow’, who is the most visibly queer Hazel, and ‘Four’, who is the Hazel who is most similar to her. Hazel Prime spends a lot of the book almost in awe of Rainbow, both of her appearance and of her apparent confidence, while she’s often harshly critical of Four’s appearance. She’s not trying to be mean, and every time she catches herself thinking mean things about Four she’s horrified, but looking at Four reminds her of all the things that she dislikes about herself and her own appearance. All of these things were relatable to me to some degree, and I’m sure that they will be relatable to a lot of people who read this book. A strong message that this book pushes is that people should be kinder to themselves. This book also features a favourite obscure trope of mine! I really love it when duplicates of people, whether those duplicates are clones, copies, or from another universe, become like siblings with the original/alternate version of themselves. Hazel Prime explicitly describes the other Hazels as her best friends, and one of them as her sister, and I’m living for it! The queer representation was good! I liked that all the Hazels were at different stages of discovering their own sexualities and/or coming out to other people, and it was cool to read from the perspective of a character who’s questioning in a story that isn’t primarily about that. I also liked that Rainbow, the Hazel who is the most comfortable with and open about her queerness, is an asexual character who does have sex sometimes. Not all asexual people are sex repulsed, attraction and action are not the same thing, and that’s something that is incredibly important for people to understand. However, I personally got the impression that Hazel Prime’s asexuality was treated as being secondary to her being a lesbian. A decent amount of page time was dedicated to her wondering whether her feelings towards one of her friends was a crush or not, and almost none of it mentioned her lack of sexual attraction until the point that a discussion about labels was being had. My asexuality is just as big a part of me as my love of women, it’s not just a modifier. But, that being said, there are definitely people out there who do see their asexuality as being more of a modifier. My experiences are not universal and all that. This is just something to bear in mind as it did bother me while I was reading. All in all, The Art of Saving the World is a fun look at the chosen one trope with an unconventional main cast and also a dragon. I definitely recommend it! I received an e-arc through the author & publisher in return for an honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    ♥Milica♥

    Ok here we go. Hazel is the chosen one because why not? I don't mind the randomness though. Sometimes things just "are". An interdimensional rift was created when she was born and on the eve of her sixteenth birthday it spiralled out of control, chucking out not one, not two, not three but four other Hazels (technically three at a time but you'll have to read to see how the fourth one appeared) from different dimensions into Hazel prime's world. The rift also spat out a dragon called Neven - bef Ok here we go. Hazel is the chosen one because why not? I don't mind the randomness though. Sometimes things just "are". An interdimensional rift was created when she was born and on the eve of her sixteenth birthday it spiralled out of control, chucking out not one, not two, not three but four other Hazels (technically three at a time but you'll have to read to see how the fourth one appeared) from different dimensions into Hazel prime's world. The rift also spat out a dragon called Neven - before we go any further I have to note that Neven is the name of a flower in my language and if translated it means "never wilts" - who is destined to help them save the world. Now the problem is, the whole quest wasn't as epic as it should've been. There's secret Powers That Be who pull strings and pick the next chosen one but...??? Somehow the entire quest had to have more, more of what I don't exactly know, but MORE. The main enemy they have to fight changes between something thrown out of the rift, secret government agents and The Powers That Be themselves. I was expecting a boss fight but got none. It just wasn't satisfying. As for the Hazels, I'm on the fence. I half like the idea that they're the same person and half don't. Hazels 1-4 really felt like just one Hazel talking to herself (yes, I know she literally was) and Hazel five was the only one that stood out. I think the differences between them were so minor it could've worked better if they were just clones. However I much would've preffered if they all had different personalities. What I did like about them is that they almost all have different sexualities and I absolutely love the Ace rep. It's accurate and educational for someone who doesn't know much (if anything) about it. And the anxiety calming exercises were really nice. I love Neven, she's so cool and always there to help. We didn't get to see that much of Hazel's parents but they seem alright. Her sister though...I don't know, I didn't like her for some reason. So, the quest aside, I did really like this book. I could barely put it down except when I had to. There's something addicting about it. The words are all in place and I didn't get taken out of the story once. And it's pretty easy to follow. *I'd like to thank the author for giving me an opportunity to read this book when I reached out on Twitter, the publishers for approving my request and Edelweiss for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve Dunk

    Amidst all the inter-dimensional jargon, dragons, trolls, and ubiquitous beings, it’s the relationships you’ll be drawn to in The Art of Saving the World. The interplay between the five “Hazels” is at the heart of the book obviously and the story hinges on this concept of self-discovery through literal self-observation. And while Corinne succeeds at that point, there’s no question the book is slightly frustrating in the sense that for its length (and it is long) you don’t really get any larger c Amidst all the inter-dimensional jargon, dragons, trolls, and ubiquitous beings, it’s the relationships you’ll be drawn to in The Art of Saving the World. The interplay between the five “Hazels” is at the heart of the book obviously and the story hinges on this concept of self-discovery through literal self-observation. And while Corinne succeeds at that point, there’s no question the book is slightly frustrating in the sense that for its length (and it is long) you don’t really get any larger conceptual answers other than, “because”. Hazel (Prime) isn’t anymore the chosen one than you or me, not in the classical sci-fi sense, it’s more random than that. It’s more of a sick and twisted game of chance by some pervasive group of “The Powers That Be” who play with universe at their whim. But whacky ending and muddled plotting aside, this is really more of a coming-of-age story dressed up in sci-fi sensibilities. And the YA fan in me who’s looking for less cataclysmic more personal stories these days, was okay spending time with Hazel(s), as she comes out of her shell. Hazel coming face-to-face with her own isms and foibles, actually put me through a bout of self-reflection. I couldn’t help but wonder, what quirks that I have would drive me to shame, embarrassment, or even worse, disappointment, should I see them from an outsider’s POV? Heavy stuff to be sure but worth exploring nonetheless, and I have Corinne to thank for that! Additionally, I would have preferred Corinne spend more time on the aftershock of what Prime and Alpha went through, dealing with more of their PTSD. And the “closure nerd” in me would have loved to have seen Hazel (Prime) experience some of these new self-discoveries in real-time. Ultimately how you feel about Hazel(s) will determine your enjoyment of this book, the rest can be forgiven. Corinne’s examination of representation, own voices, anxiety, and sexuality are the drivers of this story and Hazel (Prime) is as worthy a hero as any other. Be the hero of your own story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Books That Burn

    The Art of Saving The World is an artful subversion of the "big damn hero", taking someone exquisitely ordinary and doubling (quintupling?) down on her to great effect. In this book, there’s a literal capricious and mostly-powerful but extremely mysterious force putting constraints on the MC’s movements. Which force you think I mean will likely change throughout the text, as there are several contenders for the title. The story has a lot of uncertainty built into it: the MC is a pretty reliable The Art of Saving The World is an artful subversion of the "big damn hero", taking someone exquisitely ordinary and doubling (quintupling?) down on her to great effect. In this book, there’s a literal capricious and mostly-powerful but extremely mysterious force putting constraints on the MC’s movements. Which force you think I mean will likely change throughout the text, as there are several contenders for the title. The story has a lot of uncertainty built into it: the MC is a pretty reliable narrator, but there are a lot of factions who are actively lying to her which means that at several key points she discovers information which recontextualizes earlier events. I think it's handled well and I enjoy that kind of twist, so I had a good time. I like the balance between introspection and action. The story really embraced the idea of "hurry up and wait" which fit the kind of crisis being solved and gave space to breathe between action pieces. This feels like it encapsulates the reasons sci-fi and fantasy are often placed together as a genre, for by blending the two you can get awesome results which would be difficult to obtain by staying strictly within one of the two genres. This does lean a bit more towards fantasy in terms of how the MC approached the challenges, but the government people were acting like this was definitely a sci-fi story and that disconnect in approach helped to naturally drive some of the tension. I like the setting and most of the characters, but I loved the dynamic between the MC and her copies. She had a different rapport with each of them and we get glimpses of they having different interpersonal relationships and levels of comfort with each other, all of which combined to make them feel like their own characters even when they could have had personalities as identical as their general appearance. I have mixed feelings about the way that the ending subverted the "big damn hero" tropes, but most of that stems from my being a person who generally needs closure. The ending has this open sense on purpose, conveying that there's more life to live and I like that idea in theory but can't quite convince my anxiety that it's good in practice. One place where the subversion worked really well was towards the middle of the story when we find out that someone isn't happy with how the MC is handling things, and it aligned neatly with my then-complaint that it felt like a lot of the story was happening near her without her being the one to take charge. This clearly was on purpose, so that eased some of my frustration and I was able to enjoy the narrative arc more. I agree that this ending was the best outcome, but there was an unsettling anticlimax in the execution. Again, there's a lot of genre subversion going on so that sense of anticlimax was probably on purpose, but I remain unsettled. I'm a person who needs obvious closure, so if that's not an issue for you then you'll probably be fine. CW for panic attacks, car accident, blood, gun violence, major character death, death.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Téa Belog

    thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review! this has not affected my review in any way, all opinions are mine. 2.5/5 hazel spent her entire life confined to a 1.5 mile radius to keep a dimensional rift under control, until her 16th birthday, when the rift moves, more hazels appear, and everything hazel thought she knew changes drastically. we're starting with the things i liked because that's easiest. i did end up liking the conflic thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review! this has not affected my review in any way, all opinions are mine. 2.5/5 hazel spent her entire life confined to a 1.5 mile radius to keep a dimensional rift under control, until her 16th birthday, when the rift moves, more hazels appear, and everything hazel thought she knew changes drastically. we're starting with the things i liked because that's easiest. i did end up liking the conflict with the powers that be. i wasn't sure how deep that line would go, so i appreciated where it went and the characters' reactions to it. without going into any spoilers, i thought that aspect was really interesting and THAT was a part of the story i really liked and wished it hadn't taken so long to get to. (the resolution i'll talk about later) i liked how the hazels were so different but similar, but maybe that's because i'm in a child psych class and interspersed reading this and reading about how we develop from our environment as well as genetics. i liked the hazel dynamics! i thought they were a fun group and got attached to them very quickly. i thought how the magic weapon came about was interesting. and, hey! dragons are fun! the sexuality rep was pretty good, and there were some funny lines and moments! but also.. there were so many frustrating moments where it was just...an exposition dump. both the reader and hazels have information hidden from them for so many pages and then it's just all revealed because ??? we're given a reason, but i personally didn't find it satisfying, and it made hazel prime passive for a huge chunk of a story where she was meant to be becoming MORE active after a life of passivity. i'm ALL for passive characters, but the way hazel's active- or passiveness was handled became frustrating. i think it just fell a little too much into the telling over showing for me. it also made the pacing feel really uneven. the first 2/3rds were really rough in that regard for me, while the ending really picked up the pace and i found to be the most enjoyable part. also i think this was an attempt to subvert the "chosen one" trope, but it fell flat to me. while i truly did enjoy a lot of the anxiety scenes around the concept — the clapping scene in particular i found i really liked — it didn't really feel like ALL that new of a take on the chosen one. maybe that could've gone further? i'm not sure. this is a tiny thing, but it really bothered me that four never got a name. i can't say colors are all THAT much better, but they at least were identifying factors (before red changed out of her dress). even alpha got a different name. but four was just...four. and four NEVER got a distinct personality in my mind. i can think of one (1) difference between her and prime, and that really bothers me. there was so much exploration of how the hazels were different and a few identity crises, so it felt like four n e e d e d to be more distinct by the end and she just! wasn't! like what did she add to the story other than being fourth? i literally couldn't tell you. i get that there's l i t e r a l l y a conversation about this about 2/3rds through the book but it doesn't matter because it still deeply bothered me the resolution to the climax made me mad and the ending just left me...sad and empty feeling. i wasn't expecting things to end perfectly, or tragically. they honestly ended very realistically but it just didn't....hit right? it felt not impactful enough and just a touch too real for there to be anything satisfying about it. i got the point but...i don't know. it was sad, but not cathartic. if hazel prime had changed more i'm not sure if that would've been a better ending. i don't know if there IS a better ending. i'm just left feeling like...yes this is how anxiety works. this is realistic. and i struggle with it every day. maybe that's why it's upsetting, because it's just too similar to me. there isn't enough of a change, it's just some small steps. maybe i'll feel different about the ending tomorrow but right now, right out of this book, i feel upset and conflicted i think, in the end, the struggle this book has is that it both wants to be plot driven and character driven. and it can be both — there are plenty of stories that have adventurous plots entertwined with deep character exploration — but i think this book missed the mark for the majority of it. it came together toward the end, but that means you have to get through the clunkier beginnings to hit the smoother parts. for at least the first half, to explore hazel, or the hazels as a collective, the action would stop dead. i think there was a way that this exploration could happen alongside the action of saving the world without the sometimes jarring switches between action and character, but unfortunately, we didn't get it while reading this book, i spoke to friends about it, as it's kind of in my nature to liveblog things i read and watch. and at some point around halfway through, one of my good friends said "ngl i cant tell if you hate the book" and that might be a good stance to stand by. it was interesting. it was fun to talk about. i don't know if i actually liked it, and so i've had to look at it more from a craft point of view, which i don't actually do for most books. most of my ratings are based on my emotional reaction and mine to this one was just sort of... eh. so a 2.5/5 (also random fun fact, i know they're all blonde but rainbow, but i literally couldn't stop imagining red as dahlia hawthorne from ace attorney because they paired dress with the word red. i know her dress is red. i know she changes out of it early on. i tried so hard to unsee it. i failed miserably)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    WAIT, the author of this book created the #ownvoices hashtag??? How did I not know this-

  16. 5 out of 5

    kayla

    The Art of Saving the World is a really unique blend of sci-fi elements in a modern world with an interesting and relatable cast of characters (although five of them are literally the same person). This book uses tradition storytelling elements but with a unique spin, and I especially liked the subversion of the "chosen one" trope, and the use of a grumpy dragon as the mentor character. I think a subverted "chosen one" trope is always interesting to read about, but it's much more of a realistic The Art of Saving the World is a really unique blend of sci-fi elements in a modern world with an interesting and relatable cast of characters (although five of them are literally the same person). This book uses tradition storytelling elements but with a unique spin, and I especially liked the subversion of the "chosen one" trope, and the use of a grumpy dragon as the mentor character. I think a subverted "chosen one" trope is always interesting to read about, but it's much more of a realistic portrayal of how someone would react to being "chosen" to save the world. In this case, it's even more interesting because the MC has anxiety and deals with several panic attacks related to this huge weight on her shoulders. As a demisexual lesbian who also deals with anxiety and panic attacks, of course my favorite aspect of this book is the anxious ace lesbian main character. It's rare enough seeing one of these represented but seeing all three in a main character is :') I have kind of mixed feelings about the rest of the book because I was definitely expecting more of the "saving the world" bits from the title, but this book tends to focus on self-discovery and character development a little bit more. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, because it definitely aligns more with Hazel's character than running into battle and having lots of action scenes, but there is a Lot of just talking between characters and it wasn't always the most engaging topics of conversation. So, if you're looking for an epic adventure with a quest - this book probably isn't for you - but if you enjoy character heavy stories with self-discovery , you'll probably like this one! To me, the "saving the world" felt more like a side plot than the actual goal of the story, and it didn't always mesh with the self-discovery arc very well. While I think it was a fun and enjoyable read, I don't necessarily think it was my style of book. I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but I absolutely had to give it a shot after hearing about anxious ace sapphics. Final rating: 3.5 stars *thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy via edelweiss!*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: The rift that opened on our farm the evening I was born was like a shard of glass: sharp and angled and not quite transparent, but tilt your head a little and it might as well be invisible. So no one could blame my parents for not noticing it that first week. Premise/plot: Hazel, our heroine, finds out she is a CHOSEN ONE. She won't have to save the world alone, however, for others have been sent through the rift to help her as the POWERS THAT BE stand silently by watching and ju First sentence: The rift that opened on our farm the evening I was born was like a shard of glass: sharp and angled and not quite transparent, but tilt your head a little and it might as well be invisible. So no one could blame my parents for not noticing it that first week. Premise/plot: Hazel, our heroine, finds out she is a CHOSEN ONE. She won't have to save the world alone, however, for others have been sent through the rift to help her as the POWERS THAT BE stand silently by watching and judging their progress. Those others include a DRAGON and four other Hazels. Yes, four other versions of herself from four different alternate realities have come through the rift and are there to help this Hazel, this CHOSEN ONE Hazel live up to her destiny. But what evil(s) is she saving the world from? And what are the consequences of her success or her failure? Is this a game of Whose Line Is It Anyway where the points don't ultimately matter? Is the system rigged? Why is there a system to begin with? My thoughts: The premise starts off strong. I will say that the prologue and first chapter or two show a lot of promise. Ultimately, however, I found this novel to be an almost complete mess. It depends on what you are personally looking for. If you are looking for an epic adventure-quest where an actual world needs actual saving from an actual threat and a hero/heroine goes through a journey--literal or not so much so--to reach the place where he/she can save the world and find that place to come into being their best self...then this one is...well...it's not that. But was it ever meant to be that? Probably not ever. If you are looking for a novel where you literally have conversations with yourself, then this is the book for you. It is mainly talkity-talk-talk. Hazel, this world, this Chosen One, Hazel, isn't really all that in tune with her inner self and inner desires and who she is and what she wants and how she wants her life to play out day to day. She's not solely to blame. Far from it. She literally has been kept within a two mile radius of her house since she was six days old. So if she's not quite your normal teen, well, there's probably a good reason for her to not quite be so self-aware. (That being said, being self-aware isn't always easy in the best of circumstances.) Essentially, Hazel is an asexual lesbian with anxiety issues and a case of shyness. By seeing how other Hazels handle life, she begins to become more self-aware and motivated to be truer to herself. So how does saving the world fit into this plot? Well, that's where it gets messy and complicated. The more inward and self-introspective the novel turns, the floppier and clumsier this whole "must save the world" nonsense becomes. By the end, it's just absolutely ridiculous. But were readers ever supposed to be focused on that aspect of the novel? Was that ever truly the point? I'm not sure it was. I think the novel was always about Hazel's self-discovery and realizations by getting to know other versions of herself, by becoming friends with her other selves. I liked the idea of alternate realities and seeing other versions of yourself, of exploring what ifs, etc. I just wish the whole saving the world aspect of it wasn't there as a distraction.

  18. 4 out of 5

    day

    4.25 (mild/vague spoilers throughout) WOW this book! whew. it was tough to get through. it is an incredibly interesting subversion of the fantasy genre and the "chosen one" trope in particular. i think hazel is a very realistic and believable character (as are her counterparts). i appreciate the way that the world was pretty recognizably our own (if a portal started spitting out little monsters) and also that the fantasy elements (such as a dragon) were unapologetically fantastical. it's hard for m 4.25 (mild/vague spoilers throughout) WOW this book! whew. it was tough to get through. it is an incredibly interesting subversion of the fantasy genre and the "chosen one" trope in particular. i think hazel is a very realistic and believable character (as are her counterparts). i appreciate the way that the world was pretty recognizably our own (if a portal started spitting out little monsters) and also that the fantasy elements (such as a dragon) were unapologetically fantastical. it's hard for me to review this book because while i loved it and am definitely going to be thinking about it for a while, there were parts of this book that were not fun to read- which isn't to say they they weren't well-written or handled with care (they were) but the whole point here is bringing something new to the "chosen hero" character and the circumstances of that "fate", and even holding the entities responsible for that "fate". it is SO interesting, especially with the amount of introspection that is really required when someone's only allies are alternate versions of themselves. seeing hazel so overly critical of herself and other versions of herself is painful to read only because it is so realistic. i know if i'd been in her position as a 16yo i would have absolutely thought the same things about my own appearance and mannerisms. looking back as an adult, it breaks my heart that i had so much compassion for other people and so little for myself, and this is something that hazel has to confront early, for better or worse. it is also rather interesting to see a young character struggling with internalized lesbophobia. it's something i went thru and reading it is so uncommon that it become a very intimate experience, even though it doesn't get super deep (since hazel is kinda busy). the way hazel can't even say or think words like "gay" and "lesbian" and not necessarily wanting to commit to that label for herself let alone other people, is very realistic. i am not ace, but being a 16yo and not knowing if ur attraction to girls is real or not simply because you don't think about having sex with them? relatable! i didn't want to have sex when i was 16! it's hard to think about your sexuality when you're a teenager for so many reasons, so my heart really ached for hazel for pretty much this entire book. this is starting to get long so i'm gonna talk about the ending really quick, so spoilers for the end! i can't tell if i liked it or not. it wasn't satisfying but that was the point, right? a lot of fantasy books have a neatly wrapped up, "the threat has been vanquished, we may or may not have lost loved ones in the process, but everything is basically okay now happily ever after" type of ending, and that would not fly in this book! so it was an appropriate ending. it doesn't have definite answers. hazel changed but didn't completely transform into a new confident person because of what she went thru. she didn't get her goodbyes. she didn't have a big beautiful finale, honestly. one minute the world was in chaos and the next minute, it isn't. and now she has to figure out how to keep living in the world after the bizarre and unique and unbelievable trauma she went thru. it isn't an ending that leaves you with a lot of joy or hope or wonder. it kind of hurts. i guess i think this book was everything it needed to be, and everything it should've been, and maybe i'm a little clouded looking at it because i see a lot of my younger self in hazel, too. corinne duyvis always manages to blow me away and i somehow never expect it to hit as deep as it does. I GUESS what i'm saying is: i liked this book, probably even a lot! and i'm going to be sitting with it for a while. and corinne duyvis really deserves more attention for really reimagining and reinterpreting how we can approach SFF fiction! idk how to end this review honestly i'll be surprised if anyone made it this far. fuck this book was really good tho

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Field

    I really love the theme of Powers That Be being incredibly negligent in the games and bits and pieces of information that get given to their Chosen Ones. Both of these capitalised terms became first popularised by Buffy, but they're seen all over the place now, in books like The Rest of Us Just Live Here and of course the novelisation derivative of the popular TV franchise, Slayer. But this is a completely new story, as well as a social commentary, and that's what makes it so strong and fantast I really love the theme of Powers That Be being incredibly negligent in the games and bits and pieces of information that get given to their Chosen Ones. Both of these capitalised terms became first popularised by Buffy, but they're seen all over the place now, in books like The Rest of Us Just Live Here and of course the novelisation derivative of the popular TV franchise, Slayer. But this is a completely new story, as well as a social commentary, and that's what makes it so strong and fantastic. And after having read Corinne's previous novels, I had expected nothing less. Hazel is an incredibly anxious young woman who has spent her whole life within a mile and a half radius due to a rift that opened up on her property the day she was born. Immediately after, the military came in and tried to evacuate the whole family, until it became clear that the rift was wired to Hazel's proximity. Since then, she has been very obedient, obeying both what her parents and also what the military advise her of, with no shows of curiosity. That has been more the realm of her younger sister, who has ended up in a separate residence because she couldn't obey the rules of not going into the military areas to see what's going on in there. One day, though, she comes to find that there is much more going on in the backyard of her farm property, when four girls who look just like her and a dragon all bust into her life in various ways. Something I very much loved about this book was the way that it showed the Powers to basically be bored demi god types with little to no investment in the lives of the Chosen Ones they elevate and require acts of heroism for. The difficulty they put into the mix as they advise that the mentors--like our dragon here--are only to aid the hero but without giving any information that might actually help them with their quest. Seeing Hazel come out of herself in the course of this story, and the struggle she takes from being the kind of person who willingly follows others, to the kind of person who seeks out answers to what is going on around her, is pretty amazing. Her heart is so damn clear as she tries to save others at the same time as trying to figure out her own asexuality and romantic inclinations. A part of me wishes this was the first part of a series, but I really also think that everything that needed to be said and done in these pages was brought to a conclusion all on its own here.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephan van Velzen

    The only thing wrong with this book is the absurdly low anount of ratings it has on Goodreads. How is Duyvis not more popular? After reading my second of her books, I'll tell you Duyvis is an absolute treasure. I've never read a book representing my anxiety as well as this one. And that final chapter! It blew me away. The only thing wrong with this book is the absurdly low anount of ratings it has on Goodreads. How is Duyvis not more popular? After reading my second of her books, I'll tell you Duyvis is an absolute treasure. I've never read a book representing my anxiety as well as this one. And that final chapter! It blew me away.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rain

    I didn't really care about the whole chosen one plot, but seeing different versions of Hazel interacting with each other was fun. Bonus points for the very short chapter too! I didn't really care about the whole chosen one plot, but seeing different versions of Hazel interacting with each other was fun. Bonus points for the very short chapter too!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Helena (helinabooks)

    ace lesbians saving the world with their dragon mentor!! nice

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    3.5 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Knupsky (bookchantment)

    So very good. Unexpected the whole way through.

  25. 4 out of 5

    William

    I am not the target demographic for this book..... and that's a good thing. YA -- especially YA centered around young women protagonists -- is a stretch for my perspective. I'm glad to see there's YA SF being written that is about as far removed from what I grew up with as possible. That's excellent! All that said, I found a lot of the plot predictable. This is likely both intentional and beneficial for the sort of novel this is -- but the level of predictability I found distracting. In any event, I am not the target demographic for this book..... and that's a good thing. YA -- especially YA centered around young women protagonists -- is a stretch for my perspective. I'm glad to see there's YA SF being written that is about as far removed from what I grew up with as possible. That's excellent! All that said, I found a lot of the plot predictable. This is likely both intentional and beneficial for the sort of novel this is -- but the level of predictability I found distracting. In any event, the book asks fantastic questions: Are you defined by your experiences? Can you make different choices? How different would you be at the same age if you made just slightly different choices? Can you trust a government Agency? These are fantastic questions. And asking excellent questions is a wonderful goal of fiction, whether it be genre fiction or not.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This is a really clever read. It takes everything you think you're getting and turns it on its head. Hazel and her other selves are amazing, and I want to be on their team, please. This book plays with all the tropes you expect from sci fi and fantasy stories and uproots them, leaving a fascinating read behind. I love the fact that Hazel is irritated by some of the things her doubles do. Who wouldn't be irritated by their own habits? I know I would be. It's a really clever idea, melding fantasy an This is a really clever read. It takes everything you think you're getting and turns it on its head. Hazel and her other selves are amazing, and I want to be on their team, please. This book plays with all the tropes you expect from sci fi and fantasy stories and uproots them, leaving a fascinating read behind. I love the fact that Hazel is irritated by some of the things her doubles do. Who wouldn't be irritated by their own habits? I know I would be. It's a really clever idea, melding fantasy and sci fi perfectly, and I want to read everything Corrine writes for the rest of my life, please. I can't wait to see what else she can come up with. (Also, is it weird that I was picturing the farm from Smallville as I read this?)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I did liked this book and the cover to it. They was a little bit out there and dragged on good.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews

    I've been looking forward to this book for a while, ever since learning that the main character is, as the author described, an 'anxious ace sapphic' which is basically my identity. It got the chance to read an eARC early, which was super exciting! The Art of Saving the World plays with genre and YA conventions in the best possible way. Hazel finds out she's the 'Chosen One' from her dragon mentor, who works for the Powers That Be. If that's not enough, the book includes multiple versions of Haze I've been looking forward to this book for a while, ever since learning that the main character is, as the author described, an 'anxious ace sapphic' which is basically my identity. It got the chance to read an eARC early, which was super exciting! The Art of Saving the World plays with genre and YA conventions in the best possible way. Hazel finds out she's the 'Chosen One' from her dragon mentor, who works for the Powers That Be. If that's not enough, the book includes multiple versions of Hazel from slightly different universes. Each Hazel has her own unique quirks, but it's fun to see 'our' Hazel discover herself by meeting her alternate selves. This book is something special to me, as it's one of the first books that I've felt seen in. There are hard emotions sometimes, but it was nice to watch Hazel struggle with some of the same issues I've dealt with, especially in regards to asexuality. While the ending of the book is satisfying, I would be down is Coyinne Duyvis wrote a sequel! I feel like the characters and the world hold potential for more stories, and I for one am happy to read them.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Farah Mendlesohn

    Really unusual. Five Hazels, one dragon and a rift. There are some moments of clumsy exposition but I found this compulsive reading. Best was simply that anxiety and fear felt real.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Owens

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift opened near hear home. Until her sixteenth birthday, Hazel cannot go much more than a mile away from it without it 'acting up' - expelling items and creatures from other dimensions into ours. Disaster strikes on Hazel's 16th birthday, when the rift goes out of control and spews more foreign objects into the world and then comes unmoored and drifts away I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. When Hazel Stanczak was born, an interdimensional rift opened near hear home. Until her sixteenth birthday, Hazel cannot go much more than a mile away from it without it 'acting up' - expelling items and creatures from other dimensions into ours. Disaster strikes on Hazel's 16th birthday, when the rift goes out of control and spews more foreign objects into the world and then comes unmoored and drifts away. It falls on Hazel and four other Hazels from other dimensions, along with their dragon advisor, to deal with trolls drawn from other dimensions and bring the rift under control. I gave The Art of Saving the World four stars on Goodreads. It's a worthwhile book to read, but it included a lot of introspection and the ending seemed too flat for me to give it the fifth star.

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