The Other Side by Justin Jay Gladstone / Nitsuj Yaj Enotsdalg
Summary: "If one thought created the universe, then who was the first to think?"
The Other Side is a mystery and fantasy novel that delves into a parallel world that almost completely reflects our own. If people reflect us, then what could we say about our emotions? Is our sadness a result of their happiness?
𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲...
Leon J. Granttley is a seventeen-year-old boy who was diagnosed with a rare mental disorder known as; 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒 𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑜𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟 (DID for short). To cope with this issue, he was forcibly enrolled in an institution known as the 𝐸𝑎𝑟𝑡ℎ𝑠ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑒 𝐹𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑦. It is here where therapists help patients like him cope and adapt to their 𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠. Despite his years of treatments...Leon's family and friends would hear his ongoing complaints about this devilish voice in his mind...
One that would 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐥𝐲 taunt him...
One that would 𝐫𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐥𝐲 tease him...
No matter what path Leon would choose, this 𝑣𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒 would have a conflicting opinion to rival it. This 𝑣𝑜𝑖𝑐𝑒...would be so influential, that sometimes his choices would feel like they were not his own. It is this reasoning that makes the authorities in Leon's neighborhood believe that 𝒉𝒆 is the person who assaulted a kind young girl by the name of, 𝐴𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑒 𝑅𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑎𝑡ℎ.
Leon is the 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 one who believes that he did not harm this girl.
The citizens of 𝐴𝑢𝑟𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑒 𝐶𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑦 say otherwise.
Find the truth of Leon's innocence, on 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙊𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙎𝙞𝙙𝙚.
What if you learned that you had an other? Not a twin or a doppelgänger, but another version of you living in an alternate dimension?
Leon Granttley has been accused of sexually assaulting his best friend, Allie, and instead of facing jail time, he’s sent to the Earthshine Facility for rehabilitation. Ultimately diagnosed with DID, Leon works through the program in hopes of being discharged and conquering the malicious voice inside his head. But what he doesn’t yet realize is that the voice isn’t Leon - it’s his other, Néol. When a terrifying turn of events leads to Leon and Néol switching places, Leon must do everything he can to get back to Earth and make things right.
What an absolute rollercoaster this book was! The story and special features (part of the limited edition volume which I’ll address in a bit) create an immersive experience which just might have you wonder if you’ve ever encountered your other.
Gladstone dives straight into the action from page one, weaving a high-stakes tale wrapped in mystery and mental self-exploration. Did Leon attack his friend Allie? Why didn’t he remember doing so? Is the Earthshine Facility really helping fix Leon, or does it serve some other, nefarious purpose? Finally, who is from Earth, and who is from planet Heart?
The Other Side does a great job immersing the reader in the story. From detailed character descriptions to well-explained locations, the reader won’t miss a beat as to who’s talking or where the characters are, which is a big deal because there are several prominent locations throughout the story. Another great aspect are the interactive pieces included in the limited edition copy I received (thank you!). Gladstone incorporates character drawings, images of the Reflection Principles, and scannable QR codes that take the reader to additional material on his Tumblr page. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll need a mirror to read certain parts? Move aside, choose-your-own-ending books, The Other Side was definitely the coolest reading experience I’ve had.
Another thing Gladstone brings to the table is a good understanding of disorders and their affects on human mentality. As a psychology major, I really enjoyed the attention that was paid to describing Leon’s DID, the way others treated him because of the diagnosis, and the mental shift he goes through when he learns that his disassociations are actually caused by Néol. It’s dark and twisty, and altogether a great character arc for Leon.
My only (minor) marks against The Other Side are with verb tense and formatting. Written primarily in present tense, there are a some spots when the action slips into past tense, and not just for flashback scenes. A few line indentations and gaps on pages make for the occasional odd layout, but none of these seriously detract from the spellbinding story that Gladstone tells.
Many thanks to the author for sending me a physical copy of the book! I greatly enjoyed this first installment in his debut series, and I’m looking forward to the mischief that Leon and Néol, as well as the rest of the cast, get into. To learn more about Justin Jay Gladstone and The Other Side series, check out all his resources here: https://linktr.ee/theothersideeb.