I have to start off this review stating that I wasn't 100% certain how to classify PRISM. It's one of those stories that definitely transcends more than one category. It's part science fiction with the parallel dimensions. It's contemporary with the tentative love story. But I guess, overall, mostly it would be a mystery as Kaida, Zeke, and Joy try to figure out how they got to where they are and how will they get back home.
Kaida Hutchenson (many characters resort to calling her Hutchenson throughout the story) is dreading the class trip to Carlsbad Caverns. It's over a ten hour drive and she's going to be stuck in a van with the jock, Zeke Anderson, and the smoking loner, Joy Tallon. She'd give anything to be in the van with her best friend, Maria, and her sort of boyfriend, Iggy.
On the drive, Kaida's van winds up separated from the others. The drive lulls the three to sleep, only to harshly awaken them when the van crashes, flips, and starts to catch fire. The three make it out relatively unscathed, only for them to realize that their teacher has been left inside and is surely dead, as the fire grows out of control.
Seeking shelter from the cold and rain, the three teens enter a cave. But it's within this cave that their world changes.
Kaida wakes up in her own bed, confused by the bizarre dream she had. She opens her medicine cabinet in the bathroom to retrieve some pain medication, only to find it barren of all medications and containing a bizarre tube: Coyote Cream. She vaguely recalls buying it on a trip somewhere. But when her brother comes into the bathroom and sees the tube, he freaks out, empties the contents, and asks Kaida where she got it and what was she thinking?
It's just this sort of bizarre experience that seems to keep happening to Kaida. She's in her familiar surroundings, but it just doesn't seem right. When she approaches Zeke, and he starts to say he had a dream about her...the two slowly come to realize they're involved in something, but not sure what. And when the two speak the same name, Joy, at the same time, they know that something is wrong.
With the help of a new student, Ozzy, the teens learn about the world they're now stuck in - a world where health care is nonexistent and medication is illegal and called "spills." They believe the only way back to the world they know is to get back to the cave they sought shelter in the first time.
With a very Twilight Zone feeling to the story, PRISM is a book that will keep you entranced until the very end. The concept of a world without any health care is frightening. With dark images of the clean-up crew and a town of dying and ill people, you'll be left to wonder how society survived without everyday staples such as pain medications or antibiotics.
PRISM will make you thankful you're in this world and not the alternative one that Kaida, Zeke, and Joy found themselves.
Reviewed by: Jaglvr