Midnight Blue: 01/21/16
In my review of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, I described how I thought there was a parallel universe in my neighborhood. In Midnight Blue by Pauline Fisk, there really is one and its accessible by hot air balloon.
Bonnie lives with her mother and her over protective (abusively so) grandmother. Her neighbor offers her an escape via self made hot air balloon the color of midnight. She expects to fly over the town and maybe into the next one over. Instead she flies straight up and into a world populated by people she knows but are completely different.
The world Bonnie lands in, while a peaceful and friendly place, is a claustrophobic one. If anything, it's like a pocket universe, like the ones explored in some of the episodes of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2006) or in the final episode of Phineas and Ferb, or even Storybrooke in the early days of Once Upon a Time.
Much of the book is Bonnie decided if she wants to live by the rules of her new home or find a way back. In doing so, she also encounters hints to her own past, suggesting that her family might be refugees from this alternate world, or somehow cursed by it.
It took me a while to get into the book, especially some re-reading of the first couple chapters. I needed to read the first chapters three times, once when I started, once about midway through the book because I'd forgotten how things fit together, and once again at the end because now I could see how tightly everything was woven.