Science Fiction Thriller for Teens
It’s the year 2108. I just turned 16. That means I can access the autopilot on my Aerokopa. So now, I can both fly and scope the Dat-X at the same time. But what good is that when I don’t even have a date for my best friend’s party of the century? Okay, well, one of the Holdouts offered to go with me . . . but there’s NO WAY I’m going with one of them! And then there are the Trollers docked at the quay. They’re most likely spies working with the Aliens, bringing nothing but trouble. But with this visit, they may even bring war. It would be treason to talk to them, let alone . . . befriend one. But what’s a curious girl to do? Did I tell you I have a propensity for trouble?
I really loved this YA for teen book. The backdrop is sci-fi and I’m not totally into sci-fi but the premise rings true. The book is set in 2108 in New Zealand. Aliens control the world with the exception of New Zealand. It turns out that aliens helped to create humans from the primordial mud but after we blew ourselves up in a nuclear Armageddon, they stepped back in. And they also created bionics — a petri dish of “improved upon” humans with superpowers.
But here’s the thing: perhaps the aliens that seem a little evil who are currently controlling Earth are NOT the original more benign Aliens who created us. Isus, from ancient Greek Mythology, is the Alien power who, we hope, will prevail. (And all the myths turn out to be true — planted by our original helpful aliens).
The futuristic world that K. L. Glanville creates, and it’s an exciting one with Aerokopas that are like flying car/helicopters with computer-generated interiors of just about anything is really just the backdrop to a coming of age story of a teen girl. 16-year-old Jewel Peara ideas of wrong and right are shaken when she meets Holdouts (New Zealanders like her that have a closer connection to nature and to Isus than her people, the Naturals), and a cute boy who happens to be a Troller named Forge. Is he the bad guy or a son rebelling against his father’s iron fist? Does he love her or is he using her to get the technology his Troller people seek? And what of the bigger plans the Aliens have made for New Zealand? Are they going to be invaded next? And why does it all ride on Jewel?
It is a little confusing!
New Zealanders: Naturals (Jewel’s people) and Holdouts (think more Aborigines). These two groups have a tenuous peaceful relationship but are suspicious of each other.
Still, they (the Naturals and Holdouts) are united against the Aliens who control the rest of Earth.
There is more than one kind of Aliens. The current Alien group that controls most of Earth is bad. They are creating hybrid bionic people (Think 6 Million Dollar Man types). The other Alien species is the “good” one and the top dog is Isus. This “good” Alien species is believed to have created humans from primordial mud. It is unclear why the “good” Aliens don’t get give a good ass whooping to the bad ones. The “good” ones seem a little under the radar.
Sorry… back to the plot:
Because the book turns on relationships in a coming-of-age story of Jewel, this book really resonates beyond just sci-fi, and beyond YA (Young Adult) which is its label. I would recommend this book to any girl who likes Hunger Games or Maximum Ride and would peg it at 10-years-old and up, though an adventurous 9-year-old would also enjoy it. There is minimum violence and kissing so it’s really PG and not PG-13. So…young adult for tweens is my final vote.
I also had the opportunity to ask author K. L. Glanville a few questions:
1) You grew up in Southern California?! So did I! (Seal Beach). How did growing up in the melting pot influence your book? I noticed you can handle chopstix! That must be a SoCal thing. Do you surf or skateboard too?
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.