When Casey and Nate wake up one day, everyone is gone. As Nate is looking throughout his hometown he comes upon Kelvin, a dog that somehow is able to talk at times. Strangest of all is a weird shimmery light at most of the JET gas stations which turn out to be “portals” to a regular world filled with people. As Nate and Kelvin attempt to get to his brother’s house, he meets other characters, including Casey, Amy, and some of the military who are in this empty world with him. Of course, not everyone is willing to live peacefully in this world. Can Casey, Nate, Kelvin, and Amy find a way back to a normal world with many people, or will they end up living in an empty world devoid of people?

“Portal” is truly a very imaginatively written novel about an apocalyptic world! And the mystery and suspense are utterly spellbinding! There isn’t really much explanation of how everyone went missing, so the despair the characters feel seems fitting, but it sure makes for some confusion for readers left wondering how and why everyone was eliminated. Nate, Casey and Kelvin’s special abilities also aren’t fully explained but rather must be accepted as normal. The attraction between Nate and Casey isn’t well developed and seems forced. In fact, readers will feel the bond between Nate and Kelvin more than with Casey.  Most of the characters though are engaging and intriguing,  and readers will easily empathize them. In the end, the story leaves the reader feeling a sense of hope and faith despite its ominous tone.

Roslynn Ernst