"Tyler ran through his everyday physics theories and formulas that he could remember. He understood that his body was made of matter and moved through space and time. In this world, however, everything was flat with only a few colors."

A bright young man named Tyler Charles accompanies his aunt Meg on a trip to Italy when the camp he had planned to attend is closed unexpectedly. Once there, though, he is sucked through a portal into the past and meets a girl named Lyly, who has been trapped in a two-dimensional landscape within the titular wallpaper for over two hundred and fifty years. Lyly explains that she was imprisoned by a magician named Joroku at the behest of a rich noble, the father of the boy to whom she had been engaged. In defiance of her parents, Lyly had fallen in love and run away with a boy named Patrick, who has spent the past couple of centuries in the form of a cat, seeking to be reunited with his beloved. Tyler must find a way to restore the pair and return to his own time.

Savarese's novel is an inventive and original portal fantasy that avoids the genre's most overused clich├ęs. At moments the story evokes Doctor Who and A Wrinkle in Time (Tyler is a brainy kid with a love of physics), though the plot is unlike anything the reader is likely to have read. The mystery of Lyly's origins and her efforts to escape imprisonment make her a compelling heroine. The novel juggles multiple perspectives, and the sprawling cast of characters, many of whom are incidental to the core narrative, sometimes threatens to convolute an already complicated plot further. Savarese piles incident upon incident, and readers who enjoy a quirky science fiction story with magic and a hint of romance will find much here to entertain.

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