Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ARC Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

The Final Six
Author: Alexandra Monir
Publication: HarperTeen (March 6, 2018)

Description: Set in the near future, this action-packed YA novel—already optioned by Sony Pictures—will take readers out of this world and on a quest to become one of six teens sent on a mission to Jupiter’s moon. This is the next must-read for fans of Illuminae and The Martian.

When Leo and Naomi are drafted, along with twenty-two of the world’s brightest teenagers, into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever changed. Overnight, they become global celebrities in contention for one of the six slots to travel to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—and establish a new colony, leaving their planet forever. With Earth irreparably damaged, the future of the human race rests on their shoulders.
For Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, this kind of purpose is a reason to go on after losing his family. But Naomi, an Iranian-American science genius, is suspicious of the ISTC and the fact that a similar mission failed under mysterious circumstances, killing the astronauts onboard. She fears something equally sinister awaiting the Final Six beneath Europa’s surface.

In this cutthroat atmosphere, surrounded by strangers from around the world, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo. As the training tests their limits, Naomi and Leo’s relationship deepens with each life-altering experience they encounter.

But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

My Thoughts: Humans have trashed the Earth. Climate change has raised the oceans and drowned many cities. Humanity's last best hope is to choose a team of six teenagers to go on a mission to Jupiter's moon Europa to terraform it for a new home for humanity.

This book tells the story of the twenty-four kids who will be competing for the six spots. The book is told from two points of view.

Leo is an orphan from Rome who lost his parents and beloved younger sister when when a tsunami wave hit Rome. As the story begins, he is getting ready to die himself since he has no more hope. He has been chosen to represent Italy primarily for his swimming ability. He has a positive attitude about going to Europa because it will help humanity and there is nothing left on Earth for him.

Naomi is a science nerd. While her family has had to move to higher ground a couple to times, she still lives with her parents and her beloved younger brother who has a defective heart. The last thing she wants to do is go permanently to Europa and leave her family. She doesn't have a choice, though, because being chosen is equivalent to being drafted. All the kids are also told that if they deliberately try to be sent home, they will be prosecuted and imprisoned.

This story follows the training the kids go through including injections that are supposed to help them survive on Europa. Noami's roommate has a bad reaction to the injections and washes out of the program. Another of the candidates goes crazy which Naomi believes is because of the injections but the kids are told that he had a previously undiagnosed psychological issue. Naomi becomes more and more sure that the kids aren't being given the whole story and begins to do some research using hacking software her brother slipped to her as a going away present.

She and Leo begin a friendship which leads to a romance even though he is still convinced that the mission is a good one even while Naomi becomes more and more sure that it is not. There are also interpersonal problems for the kids to deal with two. Leo's rival for the dive expert on the mission is Beckett Wolfe who happens to be the nephew of the President of the United States. He is willing to do anything to sabotage Leo's chances including an attempted murder.

The story was exciting, action-packed and had a nice romance. It also begins a series. I have read a few similar books recently. THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY by Katie Slivensky, NYXIA by Scott Reintgen, and UNEARTHED by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner all have a similar themes for science fiction fans who want more while waiting for book 2.

Favorite Quote:
He gives me a wink that is meant to be reassuring but instead ties my stomach in knots. This is the problem with being a science nerd -- I can't share in the public's hope for this mission. I know too much. I know the laundry list of things that can -- and invariably will -- go wrong.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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