The Hidden Worlds is a short teen novel about four middle school students, George, Rose, Magda and Isaiah, who find themselves in each other's dreams and subsequently in each other's lives. After having a dream about dead birds and fish in a pond near their school, the four are drawn to the pond at lunch and realize they all shared this dream. It becomes their personal mission to end the dumping of the illegal toxic waste into this pond. Through mutual dreams, the teens discover their power animals and are shown how to do shamanic journeying. They use these skills to gain additional guidance on how to put an end to the toxic waste dump.
The premise is unusual for a teen coming of age novel. As a short novel, it doesn't have a lot of room for deep character development. It seemed that the aim was always to introduce young readers to the possibilities of shamanism and the power to act together to effect positive change, even when the situation is challenging and beyond one's comfort zone. Much as fantasy novels require a certain amount of faith, the same is true for the reader who wishes to follow the teens on their spiritual journeys. Readers' reactions will be dependent on their ability to accept the notion that it is possible to gain information through dreams and shamanic journeys.
For young readers with an interest in shamanism and environmentalism, The Hidden Worlds could be eye opening.
Recommended for young adult readers.
~review by Larissa Carlson Viana
Authors: Sandra Ingerman and Katherine Wood
111 pages, $9.95