Hypotheticals are born everyday, usually from seemingly insignificant occurrences that align together to form questions that aren’t necessarily easy to answer. Of course, they’re meant to stay inside the depths of our imagination, but sometimes they start to shape themselves into a culmination of coincidental thoughts. What if, one day, you woke up, only to find the world around you gone? What if all the color in the world had been sucked out of your body? What if, one day, you woke up only to discover yourself dead? What if you never woke up again?
The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day is a show-stopping science fiction novel that follows child prodigy Maisie Day and all the events that take place on the day of her 10th birthday. Told from alternating first-person perspectives, the story starts with our protagonist waking up on the day of her 10th birthday to completely disorienting darkness. As she slowly but (un)surely navigates her way through a different environment, our perspective shifts to Maisie with her family, celebrating her birthday like any other person would. With added suspense, the story starts to pick up, providing much-needed context through monologues and fast-paced realization. Maisie starts to question everything she’s ever learnt and her existence starts to take on a whole new meaning. Who is she? And was her 10th birthday ever meant to be?
This story, although relatively short, packed in an extremely complex plot by mixing in concepts of science and math, while never decreasing the interest. It chose to focus on a few characters rather than including too many of them, and the author skillfully constructed a narrative between Maisie, and her older sister Lily. I especially enjoyed Lily’s character development, who went from being portrayed as angsty and uncaring to mature, sensitive and creative. This ties into a very well-done aspect of the story, which is how the point of view affects our idea of the characters. Maisie, while being academically gifted, does not let it get in the way of her child-like nature, and seeing how she views the world around her elevates the story. I especially enjoyed reading her thought process and how she incorporates her learnings into the real world.
With brilliant foreshadowing, a unique storyline and characters skillfully woven to come alive on the page, The Infinite Lives Of Maisie Day will suck you in and make you ask the question, "What would I do if I had never read this novel?"
The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day by Christopher Edge. Random House Children's Books, 2018.