Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
An Indigenous teen girl is caught between two worlds, both real and virtual, in the YA fantasy debut from bestselling Indigenous author Wab Kinew. Perfect for fans of Ready Player One and the Otherworld series.
In the real world, Bugz is a shy and self-conscious Indigenous teen who faces the stresses of teenage angst and life on the Rez. But in the virtual world, her alter ego is not just confident but dominant in a massively multiplayer video game universe.
Feng is a teen boy who has been sent from China to live with his aunt, a doctor on the Rez, after his online activity suggests he may be developing extremist sympathies. Meeting each other in real life, as well as in the virtual world, Bugz and Feng immediately relate to each other as outsiders and as avid gamers. And as their connection is strengthened through their virtual adventures, they find that they have much in common in the real world, too: both must decide what to do in the face of temptations and pitfalls, and both must grapple with the impacts of family challenges and community trauma.
But betrayal threatens everything Bugz has built in the virtual world, as well as her relationships in the real world, and it will take all her newfound strength to restore her friendship with Feng and reconcile the parallel aspects of her life: the traditional and the mainstream, the east and the west, the real and the virtual.
About the author
- Nominated, Red Maple Award
- Long-listed, First Nations Communities Read Award
- Winner, Aurora Award - Best YA Novel
WAB KINEW is the bestselling, award-winning author of Go Show the World and The Reason You Walk. An Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and a follower of the Anishinaabe way of life, he is a former journalist, hip-hop artist and television host who was named by Postmedia News as one of "9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know." Kinew, who is a provincial politician in Manitoba, lives in Winnipeg with his family.
A Quill & Quire Kids' Book of the Year (2021)
"Kinew’s first novel for teens stands out in the field of speculative fiction with its respectful, celebratory, and nuanced exploration of cultures and communities all too often at risk of erasure (particularly Indigenous communities)." —STARRED REVIEW, Booklist
"This smart, entertaining speculative novel gives readers a unique and moving portrait of young life — and the possibilities for gaming life — from a tribally specific corner of the world." —Publishers Weekly
"A thrilling, high-tech page-turner with deep roots." —Kirkus Reviews
"Walking in Two Worlds is overall a powerful reading experience, thought-provoking, and emotional by turns." —Quill & Quire
"Walking in Two Worlds is a novel which defies easy classification . . . there is something to both entertain and educate any readers lucky enough to meet Bugz and Feng and to live and walk, even for a short time, in the two worlds in which they live." —CM: Canadian Review of Materials
"Kinew delivers a fun, brilliantly executed blend of gamer geekdom, social issues and Indigenous culture." —Shelf Awareness
"A call for young people to celebrate their true selves, despite any racism or bullying they may encounter." —Winnipeg Free Press
"Walking in Two Worlds is exciting, inventive, and refreshing with its unique technology and perspectives." —Locus Magazine
"With dizzying action set in virtual reality, Walking in Two Worlds is at once exhilarating, clever, and poignant, seamlessly blending traditional knowledge with science fiction for an important entry into the genre of Indigenous Futurism. It doesn't just walk in two worlds, it sprints." —David A. Robertson, award-winning author of the bestselling The Barren Grounds