Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
Simon first learns about a paraverse when he meets Tonya. Their meeting is an unusual one, and so is just about everything else once they join forces in battle.
Living in Mrs. Trimble's orphanage provides a fairly loving environment for 12-year-old Simon, but it's definitely not very exciting. As a lowly seventh grader in the midst of older bullies, his life is filled with tormenting and teasing. That is until the arrival of Tonya, the thin, athletic, and mysterious young girl with the colorful hair.
It is immediately obvious that Tonya is not from anywhere nearby; in fact, she's not even from the planet Earth. She tells Simon she is from Paraworld 4329, which she explains is a parallel universe. Although it all sounds like a dream to Simon, she insists that parallel universes are extremely common.
With Tonya's help, Simon is able to escape from his tormentors. He soon realizes that Tonya has extraordinary powers, although her command of them is often at a beginner level. Magic is how things work in Tonya's paraworld.
As a result of Simon's adventures with Tonya, he finds himself in another parallel universe called Pudd. The people there seem friendly enough and offer to help when it becomes evident that Tonya is in danger from some less than desirable characters from a world intent on eliminating the use of magic. Simon and Tonya are soon involved in a frantic adventure that includes magical spells and creatures with names like menabaws and dragunos.
PARAWORLD ZERO is the first in the new PARALLEL WORLDS series by Matthew Peterson. Its rollicking adventure style reminds this reader of a cross between Harry Potter's adventures and those of Artemis Fowl. Colorful characters, fast-paced adventure, and clever humor make this an interesting read.