Flux by Beth Goobie
In this dystopic possibly-other-planet, Nellie is essentially a street kid. She and her mother left the rigidly controlled Interior for the frontier communities of the Outbacks, and after her mother’s disappearance several months before, she’s all on her own. However, her isolation has opened her mind to flux, the ability to alter her molecular vibrations and travel between different levels of reality. When a local gang of boys, the Skulls, retaliate against an earlier attack and shave her head, they expose a strange network of scars on her scalp. A string of events is set into motion, Nellie is reluctantly befriended by the leader of the Skulls, and a quest for his missing brother leads them through many layers of reality and into the Interior itself.
Beth Goobie’s done better. The sheer strangeness of this one reminds me of The Colours of Carol Molev. The plot is vaguely muddled, strangely metaphysical, and never really quite came together, though it is the first book of a series. (Book two is Fixed, which I haven’t read yet.) However, Nellie’s emotions run strong and true through the loss of her mother and the onset of adolesence. Strong, believeable characters, muddled plot–I’ll take that over the reverse any day.