The Worlds We Leave Behind (Hardcover)
From acclaimed author and illustrator pair A.F. Harrold and Levi Pinfold comes another powerful and poignant story about friendship, betrayal, and redemption.
Hex doesn't know why he does the things he does-why he sometimes stands up in class to look out the window or ask an unrelated question or do a little dance. He also doesn't know why he threw the rock that day in the woods. He didn't mean for the girl to fall and break her arm. But he's blamed anyway.
Enraged at how unfair life is, Hex runs into the woods and finds himself in a strange clearing-a clearing that can't possibly exist-where a strange old woman offers him a deal: she'll rid the world of those who wronged him. All he has to do is accept and they'll be forgotten, forever. But what Hex doesn't know is that someone else has been offered the same deal.
When Hex's best friend Tommo wakes up the next day, something feels wrong. Half-whispered memories tug at his brain, making him think that something-or someone-is missing from his life. Can Tommo put the world back the way it was? Or can he find a way to make a new world that could be better for them all?
This unforgettable story, complete with lush black-and-white illustrations throughout, explores how we can find the strength to face down monsters: in the darkness, in our friends, and in our selves.
About the Author
A. F. Harrold is the author of The Afterwards, The Imaginary, and The Song from Somewhere Else, as well as a poet who writes and performs for adults and children (see, for example, The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice). He lives in Reading, England, with a podcaster and two cats.
Levi Pinfold has been drawing from imagination for as long as he can remember. He is the illustrator of The Song From Somewhere Else and the author-illustrator of The Django, The Greenling, and Black Dog, which won the prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. Born in the Forest of Dean, he has somehow found himself living in northern Australia. He likes paintings, books, music, and some cats.
"[A] wonderfully crafted, mesmerizing text. . . . This sophisticated novel exists in a delightfully dark place between fairy tale, horror and science fiction, and opens up a fascinating world of what-ifs." - Shelf Awareness, starred review
“An impeccably crafted, cerebral fantasy.” —Booklist, starred review
“This delightfully creepy tale weaves the perfect mix of horror with honesty about the struggles of being human and growing up… Harrold delivers a world as eerie as it is true, as uplifting as it is intense in a triumph of storytelling.” —School Library Journal, starred review
"Harrold's creepy tale takes off with this altered world, uncanny in its innocuous but distressing changes. . . Pinfold's chiaroscuro-esque, surreal illustrations raise the stakes." - The Horn Book
“A cautionary tale of consequences and revenge, but also new possibilities.” —BCCB
“Harrold's staccato third-person narration captures myriad physiological experiences, including anger, embarrassment, freedom, and guilt, while exploring reactions' sometimes emotional roots.” —Publishers Weekly
“Pinfold's fine-lined, chiaroscuro drawings are perfectly in tune with Harrold's reserved, unsettling narrative voice… Compact and disquieting: a horror story with plenty of food for thought.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This gripping middle-grade novel is interspersed with black-and-white illustrations that really help tell this story of forgiveness, friendship, and making choices.” —School Library Connection
“Gravett's full-color illustrations perfectly channel Harrold's narrative . . . Gripping and poignant, a look at what it means to be brave and alive in the face of loss.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on THE AFTERWARDS
“A curious, immersive narrative . . . Ember's vibrant personality imbues the book with unfaltering warmth.” —Booklist, starred review, on THE AFTERWARDS
“Aided by Gravett's evocative art, Harrold brings this eerie . . . tale about accepting change, letting go, and love's indissoluble bonds to an affecting finale that is very much grounded in real life.” —Publishers Weekly, on THE AFTERWARDS
“Harrold brings a delectable combination of coziness, sympathy, and menace to this story . . . and Gravett's soft and friendly watercolor and pencil art . . . further ground the adventure, making this an accessible story of controlled shivers and heartfelt compassion.” —BCCB, on THE AFTERWARDS
“Readers of Neil Gaiman or Roald Dahl may find this title particularly appealing . . . Recommended.” —School Library Connection, on THE AFTERWARDS
“Readers of the author/illustrator pair's The Imaginary will find familiar their ability to invent imaginatively creepy magic and use it to explore real-life emotions.” —Horn Book Magazine, on THE AFTERWARDS
“Wonderfully entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on THE IMAGINARY
““A great choice for readers who like fantastic tales with a dose of true scariness.”” —School Library Journal, starred review, on THE IMAGINARY
““Affecting and lovely.”” —The New York Times Book Review on THE IMAGINARY
““[A] winningly whimsical celebration of the imagination, beautifully enhanced by both black-and-white and full-color illustrations.”” —Booklist on THE IMAGINARY
““Masterfully paced and stunningly crafted.”” —Shelf Awareness, starred review, on THE SONG FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE
““Strong characterizations and a good dose of spookiness are standouts.”” —School Library Journal, starred review, on THE SONG FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE
““Captivating.”” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review, on THE SONG FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE
““Incisive [and] poetic.”” —The Horn Book Magazine, starred review, on THE SONG FROM SOMEWHERE ELSE