Happy Tuesday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for JADIE IN FIVE DIMENSIONS by Dianne K. Salerni! I’m so excited because today I have an excerpt of the book to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
Jadie in Five Dimensions by Dianne K. Salerni
Published on October 5, 2021 by Holiday House
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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What do you do when it turns out your whole life has been a lie?
Jadie Martin was always told she was abandoned by her parents. Creatures from the 4th dimension rescued her and placed her with a loving adoptive family. Now, Jadie acts as an agent for the beings, also known as Seers. She uses the 4th dimension as a short-cut to travel anywhere on Earth, performing missions calculated to guide the world toward a brighter future.
But then Jadie discovers that her origin story is fake. In reality, her birth family has suffered multiple tragedies and disasters engineered from 4-space, including the devastating loss of their baby girl. Her!
Doubting the Seers, Jadie starts anonymously observing her long-lost family. Why are they so important? What are the true intentions of the Seers? And what will all-powerful four-dimensional beings do to a rebellious human girl when they realize she's interfering with their plans?
My target holds her phone against her ear, scurrying down the sidewalk in high heels. She’s dragging a wheeled suitcase and carrying a tapestry bag over her shoulder. The bag has sunflowers on it, which is how I know I’ve got the right lady.
Coasting behind her on my skateboard, I weave between pedestrians. One man snarls at me—“Watch it, girl!”— even though I didn’t touch him.
Great. Last thing I need is someone drawing attention to me.
Luckily, the woman is too busy talking on her phone to notice. She’s heading for a subway entrance a block ahead, so I have to make my move.
A lot of kids on my middle school soccer team talk about getting into “the zone.” I call it Jadie 2. 0— an alternate me that pushes the regular Jadie Martin aside and tells my body what to do. Speed up. Bend your knees. Lean left.
Bearing down on the woman, I hook my fingers under the st rap of her tapestry bag and hurl it as far as I can into traffic.
The bag strikes the windshield of a taxi, spewing its contents over the car and into the street.
The woman whirls toward me with a furious shriek, her hands curved into manicured claws. Cutting sharply away on my board, I call over my shoulder, “Sorry!”
I only did what I was ordered to do.
Other people shout after me, but only the guy who yelled at me a few seconds ago gives chase. “Come back here, you little punk!”
I steer into the closest alley, which turns out to be a mistake. A delivery van blocks the exit, and two guys are stacking crates around the vehicle. There’s no way I can get through them with the angry man ten steps behind me.
What I do next is against protocol, but I don’t see an alternative. Hopping off the skateboard, I stamp on the back end and grab the front axle. As my pursuer barrels toward me, his hand outstretched, I stab the round button on my metal bracelet and vanish.
Or at least that’s what it looks like to the man in the alley.
For me, it’s like being knocked from my skateboard while traveling at top speed— a sudden wrench in a new direction.
Not a normal direction like up, down, left, or right. I’m flying kata, out of three- dimensional space.
Shutting my eyes to keep from getting dizzy, I hold out my arm. Only when my feet hit a metal platform and my bracelet clicks into a port- lock do I blink and look around. The alley is gone, replaced by what looks like a modern art painting sprung to life. In front of me, gold loops squirm and blue orbs pulse. Off to my right, silver tubes intersect in impossible ways like an optical illusion— but this isn’t an illusion.
This is 4-space.
I glance down between my feet, through the metal grid of the platform. Earth isn’t visible to human eyes from this position, but it’s there. My planet, the solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy . . . the entire three- dimensional universe, in fact, is nest ed inside the vast ness of this four- dimensional universe the way one Russian doll fits inside another.
A red glow illuminates the space around me— bright enough to see by, but not as satisfying as sunlight or even a strong lightbulb. It reminds me of a fi re burning in the wilderness, which always makes me wonder if these platforms are inside or outside. Or if inside and outside aren’t the only two options when you have four spatial dimensions.
The only things that make sense to my eyes are the platform I’m standing on and the items I brought with me: my skateboard and my bracelet, where today’s assignment is spelled out on a small screen.
Woman with luggage walking toward subway station. Sunflower tapestry bag. Throw into traffic.
Underneath these instructions are the spatial coordinates of the event— a string of numbers that mean nothing to me.They placed me in the correct location for my mission, but they aren’t necessary to get me home.
At the edge of the platform there’s a clunky console that looks like something from the 1960s. It has large, numbered keys for entering coordinates on the way to a course correction, and three buttons labeled Complete, Incomplete, and Return to be used afterward.
Hugging my skateboard under my arm, I push Complete.
The screen on my bracelet goes blank.
Assignments like this leave me conflicted. On one hand, I’m pumped with adrenaline, like when I intercept a ball on the soccer field. On the other hand, what I did was an aggressive act against a player unaware of the game.
It feels like a foul.
I hope things turn out okay for that lady. Maybe she would’ve been flattened by a bus at the next intersection and the delay I created saved her life. Or maybe, when she misses her train, she passes the time before the next one by buying a winning lottery ticket.
But Miss Rose tells us that the desired outcome of our missions rarely involves the target. The end result of throwing a purse into the street might be four steps removed from the act. Maybe the taxi that got hit with the bag misses a fare, and because of that, two people meet who wouldn’t have met if the taxi had been there. They fall in love, get married, and have a kid who someday cures cancer.
That would make throwing a stranger’s bag into traffic totally worthwhile.
After I’ve registered my assignment as complete, I push the Return button. The platform whirs into action, sliding past four identical but unoccupied platforms. Traveling through 4-space creates a shortcut between any two locations in 3-space. Therefore, it’s only seconds before my platform stops, the port- lock releases my bracelet, and I’m yanked ana, the direction opposite from kata. The machine returns me to the same location I departed from earlier today: my bedroom in my house in Kansas, slipping me between the walls and the roof through the open fourth dimension (which is visible from 4-space even though humans can’t perceive it). The adult Agents nicknamed this machine the Transporter because when it deposits me on the fuzzy blue rug in the center of my room, I appear in the blink of an eye, like in Star Trek.
Alia Malik looks up without any surprise and says, “Hey, Jadie.” She’s lying on my bed, scrolling on her phone. “Where you been?”
“A city. Not sure where.” I drop my skateboard and nudge it with my foot, sending it off to a corner of the room. Alia isn’t surprised that I appeared out of nowhere, but I’m a little surprised to see her. She’s my neighbor and a fellow Agent, but she’s not usually waiting in my bedroom when I get back from missions.
“I went to Thailand,” she says. “Third time this month.”
Alia, her sister, and her parents often get sent to Thailand, the country of Alia’s grandparents. I wish I would get assignments overseas. “Did you see anything interesting?”
Alia snorts. “I was in a field. I opened a fence. What’d you do?”
“I threw some lady’s purse into traffic.”
“Jadie!” Alia gasps in partly fake, partly real horror. “You get all the mean ones.”
She’s not wrong. I hope it’s because I’m athletic and not because Miss Rose thinks I’m a criminal at heart.
Alia flashes a wide, forced smile. “I have a favor to ask. Any chance you’d babysit for me tomorrow?” She holds up her arm and rattles a bracelet identical to mine.
Babysit. She wants me to take her bracelet and cover her assignments, which is against the rules. Course corrections are designed specifically for each Agent. We aren’t supposed to swap them.
Alia sees my hesitation and starts begging. “Please, Jadie!
There’s a Cosmic Knight tournament tomorrow. I can’t leave in the middle without forfeiting.” Alia is obsessed with the online game Cosmic Knight, a race- slash- battle among alien players— water- breathing assassins, murderous spider ladies, poisonous floating gas bags— seeking a mysterious token that will protect the finder’s homeworld from destruction. I played once, but I prefer soccer.
“If you tell Miss Rose, she won’t give you a mission while it’s going on,” I point out. Our 4-space liaison doesn’t assign course corrections during activities where our disappearance would be noticed. When Alia chews her fingernail and avoids my eyes, I get it. “Ohhh. You’re grounded again.”
She grimaces. “I failed a history test . I’m not supposed to be out of the house this weekend, except for course corrections, and Mom says no online activities for two weeks. But she and Dad will be at Tehereh’s color guard competition tomorrow, soooo . . .”
“I have a soccer game in the morning.”
“I wouldn’t need you until one o’clock.”
“I already asked Huan and Jin.” Those are the fifteen-year- old Agents across the cul-de-sac. “But they’re visiting colleges this weekend. I know your brother would do it— Ty probably would, for a price— but I don’t trust them to get the job done. No offense to Marius.”
“None taken.” My brother, Marius, is always willing to help a friend but sometimes lacks good judgment. As for my next- door neighbor, Ty Rivers, I wouldn’t want to give him that kind of blackmail material if I were Alia.
She presses her hands together. “Help me, Jadie Martin.
You’re my only hope.”
I recognize the line from Star Wars but shoot back, “You mean your last hope. ’Cause you already asked Huan and Jin, crossed off Marius and Ty, and you can’t ask your sist er or one of the adults to do it.”
“C’mon. I probably won’t get an assignment during the couple of hours you have the bracelet.” She hesitates. “I know you don’t want to get in trouble with the Seers because of . . . you know . . . but—”
“Because of what?”
Alia shrugs like she doesn’t want to bring it up. “Because you owe them your life.”
My shoulders hunch automatically, but I try to look like it’s no big deal.
Twelve years ago, my natural- born parents abandoned me by the side of a highway in the middle of a snowstorm. Like trash.
I should have died. But superintelligent beings from a higher dimension sent their best Agents to rescue me and raise me as their own daughter. I grew up in a loving family with great parents and a brother who’s an idiot sometimes, but still my brother. For the past six months, since I turned thirteen, I’ve had the honor of serving as an Agent myself, assisting the Seers in their mission to put Earth on track for a brighter future. When they tell me to mug a lady on the street, I do it and do it well.
I see that Alia’s face is falling, and I feel like trash on the side of the highway, disappointing my friend rather than break one tiny rule. It’s only a couple of hours, and if Alia is asked to close a fence in Thailand, I can close that fence as well as she can. In fact, I bet I can close a fence like it’s never been closed before.
“I’ll do it.”
Sam Lowell hears the apartment door open and close, but, engrossed in gluing Popsicle sticks together, he doesn’t register it for several minutes.
The drawing in front of him serves as his guide. The “impossible cube,” the geometric basis for the M. C. Escher print Belvedere, is simple to sketch— a cube with one of the back edges cleverly drawn to look like a front edge.
Of course, it’s not really a cube but a two- dimensional drawing the human eye imagines as a cube. This object couldn’t exist in three dimensions, although Sam has read it’s possible to make parts of it from Popsicle sticks and— by photographing them from the right angle— cause them to look like an impossible cube.
It’s trick photography, but it might help him with his project.
First, he has to get his fake cube parts assembled correctly.
As he works, a series of thoughts penetrates the fortress of his concentration.
- One of his parents came home a few minutes ago.
- Dad is out of town, presenting his latest physics theory at Princeton and hoping for funding, a teaching position, or ideally, both.
- Mom had a job interview today. If things went well, she would’ve burst into Sam’s room to tell him.
Sam puts down the sticks and the Elmer’s glue. Spurning the crutch that leans against the wall, he pushes himself to his feet, careful not to put too much weight on his left leg. That knee has a tendency to give way without warning. The crutch helps, but he hates it.
There’s an eerie, horror- movie, what-am-I-going-to-find feeling to those dozen steps down the hall that end at the sight of his mother seated on the living room couch, bent forward with her head in her hands. Cleopatra, their sleek black cat, rubs against her shins as if trying to provide comfort. Or asking to be fed.
Her head jerks up, and for a second she tries to smile. Then her face crumples and tears come. “I didn’t get it.”
That, he’d already guessed. He looks at the time. It’s six o’ clock— later than he realized. “Were they interviewing you all this time just to tell you no?”
She shakes her head. “The woman was late. Missed her plane in Cincinnati. They said I could wait, that she was getting on the next flight. I sat there for two hours. When she finally showed up, she told me she filled the job on the plane, gave it away to the woman sitting next to her. She laughed like I was supposed to think it was funny— some kid tried to steal her bag and made her miss her first flight so that she ended up sitting next to a friend from college who needed a job.” She throws out her hands.
“What was I supposed to say? I needed that job!”
Sam plops down beside her on the couch and catches one of her hands in his own. “You should’ve told her off , Mom.”
“I couldn’t. You can’t burn bridges.”
Sam looks at their hands together. Her fingers are white and too thin, with nails bitten down to the nub. She slips her hand away from his and shifts it to his damaged knee. “How’s the physical therapy?”
Sam hasn’t been to therapy in weeks. The owner of the place, the guy who worked with Sam, was okay. But his wife ran the front desk and reminded Sam every visit how much money they owed. She kept saying, “Therapy can’t take the place of reconstructive surgery. Has that been scheduled?” She knew perfectly well his parents didn’t have insurance or any way to pay for surgery.
Cleo jumps onto the sofa beside him and butts her head against his hand. Sam rubs her ears and says, “They gave me exercises to work on at home.”
His mother gazes at his face, and for a second Sam thinks she’s going tell him he’s not allowed to quit therapy. But her eyes are distant. “I have to call your father and tell him I didn’t get the job.”
Sam’s good leg jiggles up and down. “You don’t have to call him tonight. Let him—” Let him present his proposal without worrying about you. But he can’t say that.
“He knew I had this interview. He’s probably waiting to hear from me.” She stands and picks up her phone while Sam watches, rubbing his hands against his jeans legs. Her eyes dart to the Lowell family portrait hanging on the wall above the bookshelves.
“We have more bad luck,” she whispers, “than any family ought to have.”
After she leaves the room to make the dreaded call in private, Sam stares at the photograph that’s been haunting him practically his whole life. He doesn’t want to feed Mom’s paranoid delusions, but he has to admit it sometimes seems like the universe holds a grudge against the Lowell family.
With a sigh, he gets up to verify the number of pills his mother has left in her prescription and prepare himself for the battle of getting her to take them.
My team massacres our opponents on Saturday morning, and Coach invites everyone to her house on Sunday for a make- your- own taco celebration. During the ride home, Mom and I verbally replay every high point of the game, and my good mood last s until we pull into our neighborhood and I remember my promise to Alia.
It’s not that I’m such a goody- two- shoes about breaking one small rule. And it’s not because I think I owe the Seers. Alia’s wrong about that. My life isn’t a debt that needs to be paid. It’s an obligation. The Seers didn’t just save me; they chose to have me raised by Agents and trained as one myself. They have a purpose for me, and I don’t want to let them down.
Mom drops me off and turns the car around for a grocery run. I shower and change, and then, even though I’m starving, I head for Alia’s house because it’s almost one o’clock.
The four houses in our cul-de-sac belong to the families who make up Miss Rose’s Agents— ours first , then the Riverses, the Li house, and the Maliks. Miss Rose arranged it this way so we can avoid nosy neighbors and support each other while executing our duties.
Switching bracelets is probably not what she had in mind.
Outside, my brother and Ty are playing basketball in our driveway. Well, Marius is playing while Ty, who’s about as athletic as belly button lint, stands to the side, hunched over his phone. “I’m telling you, it’ll work,” he says to Marius, tossing blond hair out of his eyes. “I’m positive.”
Eyes on the net, Marius ignores his friend. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing because whatever Ty is planning will get Marius into trouble.
When they were eleven, they tried to blow up a tree stump with fi reworks. Marius got his eyebrows singed off . When they were twelve, they used Ty’s drone to strafe Melissa Pierce’s birthday party with VOTE MARIUS CLASS PREZ campaign flyers . He lost all the girls’ votes.
“Marius,” Ty says loudly, trying to get his attention.
“In a minute.” Marius nails a jump shot. “And the crowd goes wild!” He catches the ball on its bounce and struts in a circle, pumping his arm.
“Hey, give it here!” I shout, holding out my hands.
My brother grins and passes the ball to me. I catch it, dart around him, and execute a perfect lay-up. The ball drops through the hoop, and Marius intercepts it. “Niiice. But not as good as mine. One-on-one?” He waggles his eyebrows.
Ty glares balefully at me from beneath his bangs. I’m tempted to say yes to thwart his latest caper, whatever it is.
Plus, Marius and I have an ongoing friendly competition over sports, control of the television remote, and who finishes off the best leftovers in the refrigerator.
We’re the same age, we think. He came to us when he was about three years old, speaking Spanish. Dad was assigned to rescue him from a burning building during a course correction and then, to the surprise and delight of my parents, was instructed to keep him and raise him in our family.
“Maybe later,” I offer. “I promised to do something for Alia.”
“Chicken.” He only pretends to say it under his breath.
“You’ll pay for that!”
When I knock on Alia’s front door, she greets me wearing a headset and talking into a mic. “RL, dudes,” she says.
“LMNOP,” I joke.
Alia doesn’t laugh. I was hoping she’d tell me she already had a course correction today and doesn’t need my help.
Instead, she shoves the bracelet at me, mouths the word Thanks, and shuts the door in my face.
So. Much. Gratitude.
I head home, stuffing Alia’s bracelet into my back pocket so Marius and Ty don’t see it. I needn’t have bothered. They’re both gone from the cul-de-sac when I walk through, and from the silence in our house, I assume they’ve gone to Ty’s.
Lunch pickings are slim, which is why Mom went to the store, so I heat a frozen burrito. When my back pocket starts beeping, I mistake it at first for the microwave before fumbling Alia’s bracelet out.
The screen says:
Laptop on desk beside glass of water. Spill water. Blame the cat.
This seems pretty fail-proof. I wait for the burrito to finish heating and gobble it down because I’m not leaving for any mission, simple or not, on an empty stomach. With a belch, I jog upstairs to my bedroom to depart from my usual launch point.
Since the Transporter always returns you to the precise point you came from, everyone in my family has a designated location for departure. Otherwise, you might land on an unsuspecting family member on your way back into 3-space!
Inside my room, I unsnap my bracelet, lay it on my dresser, and slip Alia’s on. It’s loose around my wrist , but not enough to slide off. Standing on my fuzzy blue rug, I tighten the ponytail at the back of my head and then push the call button.
When I feel the tug of the Transporter, I close my eyes and let it yank me out of my universe.
Two seconds later, the bracelet hits a portlock but doesn’t seem to catch. My eyes fly open as my chest hits the console hard, and I grab on with my free arm. Making sure both feet are square in the middle of the platform, I check the port- lock, but it’s securely latched after all. The landing felt different because Alia’s bracelet fits loosely.
I exhale in relief. Falling into 4-space is not something any Agent wants to do. Miss Rose often refers to Earth as a mem-brane world— or sometimes braneworld— because 4-space is so immense the entirety of our universe fits inside it like a scrap of tissue. In spite of this, traveling by Transporter is supposed to be absolutely safe— otherwise my parents wouldn’t allow me and Marius to do it. I’m more likely to encounter something hazardous on Earth than here in the fourth dimension.
At this moment, however— on an unauthorized mission— I don’t exactly feel protected.
“Chill out,” I mutter. Releasing my death grip on the console, I punch in the coordinate numbers from the bracelet screen. The platform shifts through 4-space, the port- lock clicks open, and I’m dropped ana, back to Earth.
I land in a bedroom— a small, cramped room where the bed and desk and dresser are so close together there’s barely room to walk between them. My arrival startles a black cat that was sleeping on the bed. It leaps to the floor and bolts from the room, the bell on its collar jingling.
Judging by the decorations and the clothes sticking out of overstuffed drawers, this is a boy’s room. There are lots of books, especially textbooks. A crutch leans against one wall, and a laptop sits, as promised, on the desk next to a glass of water. Hanging on the wall above it is an M. C. Escher print that Miss Rose once used in a lesson on four dimensions.
The instructions say I’m supposed to blame the cat. So I better catch the cat and shut it in this room before completing my mission.
The Seers probably planned this mission for a time when the residence is empty, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious. I tiptoe down the hall of what appears to be an apartment, approaching the entrance to a living room. When I hear nothing— no voices, no TV— I call softly, “Here, kitty, kitty.”
The cat meows from the top of a waist -high set of bookshelves.
“Good kitty.” I approach slowly, wondering how to pick it up without getting scratched or bitten. But when I reach out, the cat trills happily and climbs into my arms. “Well, you’re friendly, aren’t you?”
He— no, she butts her head against my chin. Scratching her ears, I glance up at a framed family photograph hanging on the wall. It’s one of those formal portraits you can get taken at the mall, the mom and dad seated on chairs in front of a fake backdrop with their kids on their laps.
The boy, dressed in a little blue suit with a tie, looks like he’s about three years old.
The girl is only a baby, sitting on her mom’s lap in a sleeveless pink dress. The beige skin of her left arm is marked by a stark white birthmark that stretches across her elbow and halfway down her forearm.
My heart flops over in my chest. I drop the cat.
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What do you think about Jadie in Five Dimensions? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!