The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith

The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith

The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith is a unique take on the concept of the butterfly effect. Following a girl with foreknowledge who gets a vision that the boy she will fall in love with is going to die, this one contains two interesting main characters and thought-provoking themes including free will and the impact of each action, no matter how small. With an ending I never saw coming, this is the perfect read for fans of contemporary with a sci-fi twist and those who enjoyed They Both Die at the End.

The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. SmithTitle: The Other Side of Infinity
Author: Joan F. Smith
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Rating: three-half-stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

They Both Die at the End meets The Butterfly Effect in this YA novel by Joan F. Smith, where a teen uses her gift of foreknowledge to help a lifeguard save a drowning man―only to discover that her actions have suddenly put his life at risk.

It was supposed to be an ordinary day at the pool, but when lifeguard Nick hesitates during a save,
seventeen-year-old December uses her gift of foreknowledge to rescue the drowning man instead. The action comes at a cost. Not only will Nick and December fall in love, but also, she envisions that his own life is now at risk. The other problem? They’re basically strangers.

December embarks on a mission to save Nick’s life, and to experience what it feels like to fall in love―something she’d formerly known she’d never do. Nick, battling the shame of screwing up the rescue when he’s heralded as a community hero, resolves to make up for his inaction by doing December a major solid and searching for her mother, who went missing nine years ago.

As they grow closer, December’s gift starts playing tricks, and Nick’s family gets closer to an ugly truth about him. They both must learn what it really means to be a hero before time runs out.


❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃

Review: The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith

When Nick freezes during a rescue while working what was supposed to be an ordinary shift as a lifeguard, December uses her gift of foreknowledge to step in and help, ultimately saving the drowning man’s life. However, December was only supposed to observe the situation, and by stepping in, her actions have changed the future. She receives a new vision: she’s going to fall in love with Nick, but he’s going to die. To try and deal with his shame and give December the credit she deserves during the rescue, Nick makes a deal with her–he’ll help her find her mom, and in return, she’ll go to the newspaper and set the story straight. However, as December and Nick get closer together, the future looms ahead of them, and December must try and save his life before it’s too late.

❀ Interesting Characters

December and Nick are interesting characters, and I enjoyed getting both their perspectives. December is compassionate, and I was intrigued by the tension she experiences as she wants to use her gift to help people, but changing the future can have unforeseen consequences. I also felt for Nick as everyone treats him like a hero, but he feels guilty for hesitating during the rescue. What I especially appreciated about Nick’s character is the dyslexia representation and the conversations around this throughout the book. However, while I enjoyed December and Nick, I found the romance a bit flat, which I think might be due to the fact that it is foreseen and progresses so quickly.

❀ Thought-Provoking Themes

There are some though-provoking themes throughout the book that make it an interesting take on the idea of the butterfly effect. There are many questions of free will and the impact of even the smallest actions, and I was intrigued by the decisions December must make as she can see both the good and the bad things to come. Even if she does choose to intervene and try and change the future, there is still the possibility that something worse might develop instead, and this was interesting to think through as a reader.

❀ A Twisty Story

The Other Side of Infinity is a twisty story that explores what it means to be a hero. I loved the premise of foreknowledge and the suspense that this brings, and the main characters both have interesting internal conflicts. I was especially intrigued by some of the themes throughout the book that make this one a thought-provoking read.

About Joan F. Smith

joan f smith

Joan F. Smith is the author of The Other Side of Infinity and The Half-Orphan's Handbook, a dance instructor, and a former associate dean of creative writing. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Joan lives and writes in Massachusetts, where she was the 2021 Writer-in-Residence at the Milton Public Library. When she's not writing, she's either wrangling her kids, embarking on a new hobby she will quickly abandon, or listening to podcasts on a run.

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About The Candid Cover

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22 thoughts on “The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith

  1. anovelglimpse says:

    I have been seeing this cover around a bunch. I hate to admit that I don’t love the cover, so I hadn’t taken a closer look at the book. It sounds good from your review. I am tempted because I love a twisty story and also the butterfly effect makes me curious. Great review!

  2. Sam@WLABB says:

    Considering I was not a big fan of the way things played out, I did love this book. I think my happiness for what December finally got to experience carried a lot of weight.

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