Neal Shusterman’s Skinjacker Trilogy takes place in Everlost, the place where children go when they get lost on their way to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a strange place where anything in the living world is ethereal. Only certain objects ever cross into Everlost: If an object is loved enough, remembered enough in the living world when it is destroyed, it crosses over to Everlost. A favorite doll that is lost in a housefire will cross over. A prized teacup shattered by a careless grandchild will cross over. You get the idea.
Well, apparently a certain book never makes it over. Included in a list of items that are most longed for in the mythical in-between land: “The sixth Harry Potter book, which, for some reason, was the only one that never crossed into Everlost.” (Everwild pg. 243)
…which means that, for some reason, according to Neal Shusterman, no one loved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince enough for it to cross over into Everlost.
I have no idea if this was a commentary from Shusterman on the relative quality of book six compared to the others. If he had to pick one in the series that was least loved, it makes sense to me that it would be that one. After all, it’s a great deal of exposition spiced up with a few action scenes!
On the other hand, it could just be a random item on a list hidden in a paragraph.
Either way, the inclusion of a little detail like that makes the world of Everlost much more realistic. When world-building, authors need to pay attention to huge sweeping details: What is the governmental structure? Who are the people? What does society look like? These big details give us volumes of backstory and history. These things are necessary.
However, when the worldbuilding ends there, we get history, not necessarily story.
We need little details, too. What is the main character’s favorite food? How do different settlements regard rain?
…what is one of the most frustrating books missing from every library in that world?
So, whether or not Shusterman intended to slam Rowling or if it was a gentle jab or merely a fun little easter-egg type addition, it is a good inclusion to make Everlost that much more of a real place.
However, it does make me wonder: Is anyone’s favorite Harry Potter book the Half-Blood Prince?