Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages: 374
Lilac is the famous daughter of a prestigious businessman who owns the amazing spaceship, Icarus, that she is currently traveling on. Tarver is a decorated war hero also traveling on the luxury spaceship, but his experience is much different. When he tries to speak to Lilac in public she makes it very clear that he is beneath her in every way, but shortly after their public altercation the ship is suddenly pulled out of hyperspace. They both end up in the same escape pod and it’s Lilac’s quick mechanical skills that free their pod before the ship crashes. They land on what appears to be an uninhabited planet. In order to survive they must trek across the planet in search of food, people, or a means to communicate. The two are very different and do not get along well at first, but over time they must come together for the goal of survival. Eventually, they start to get close and wonder if they even want to leave their own private planet, but then mysterious things start happening. They hear voices and see hallucinations, among other things. What is this place and can it in fact hurt them?
This sci/fi adventure is very exciting with many twists in the plot. The characters and setting are well developed and interesting, but the ending may confuse some readers. The pacing seems uneven at times too, with parts moving slowly and then a lot happening at once. Fans of this genre will enjoy, but most others will pass on this one.
# of Pages: 354
Sarah has lived in one exotic location after another her entire life since her parents are both scientists and often move to where they can conduct research. After the recent passing of Sarah’s mother, they are still grieving but decide to carry on with a previously scheduled educational safari so that they can earn some extra money. Shortly after the five teenagers arrive, Sarah’s dad is called away to stop some poachers and she is left to entertain them in the middle of a semi-desert. Hours go by and Sarah’s dad does not return and finally she receives a very panicked call over the radio from a frantic man who sounds like her father claiming it was a setup and he was being chased. The call cuts out with the sound of gunshots. Sarah and the other five teenagers are alone, with little food, and no transportation. They decide to go looking for help and must rely on Sarah’s survival skills in order to survive. They eventually find a silver lion who tries to attack them and Sarah knows something unnatural is going on and more than likely whomever created that monstrosity would do anything to keep it quiet. Can Sarah get the others to safety? Will she ever find out what happened to her dad? Where did the silver lion come from and is there some illegal experimenting going on?
Fans of survival books will enjoy this title. There are multiple scenes in which one or more of the teens is in serious danger due to some natural wildlife threat, like snakes. However, once they uncover the silver lion they face many dangers from humans as well as the people behind the altered animal want desperately to contain the situation at all costs. The characters are sympathetic and relatable as they truly just try to just survive this very unexpected situation and in the process must face the many reasons they all wanted to escape to the Kalahari in the first place.
# of Pages: 386
Nearly lives in a crappy trailer with her mother who works as an exotic dancer. She is trying desperately to keep her head down, work hard, and hopefully earn a special science scholarship. She reads the missed connections ads every Friday in the hopes of finding a message from her father who abandoned her years ago. Nearly has an unusual talent where she can feel what people are feeling simply by touching them, so she tries not to touch anyone ever. One day she sees a mysterious ad in the missed connections section and doesn’t think much of it until a cheerleader, whom Nearly tutored, from her school is taken and attacked at an away basketball game. After the attack, the clues in the ad suddenly make sense. She goes to the police, but they do not believe her story and instead decide to follow her and see if she had anything to do with the attack. Each week a new ad with clues come out and each week there is a new attack of someone that Nearly tutors. Can she find who is doing this before it is too late? Who could be capable of such crimes and what do the numbers written on the bodies mean?
This mystery combines several elements to make a fairly complicated story. There are many characters and sometimes they can be a bit confusing, but in the end they are all fairly memorable. Nearly has many things going on besides the attacks in her life which makes it unclear which part of her life is actually behind trying to frame her for these terrible crimes. Most readers will not put together the final resolution, but the pieces do indeed fit together. Mystery fans will be satisfied.
# of Pages: 327
Maddie has been able to see numbers on everyone’s foreheads since she was a little girl, but it isn’t until her father dies suddenly that she realizes what they are: deathdates. After her father’s death her mother struggles with sobriety and stability and Maddie must become the caretaker and even the breadwinner when her mother strongly encourages her to give “readings” in which she tells people their death dates for money. Maddie hates doing this because it often causes pain, but she does not know how else to help her mother cope. After a reading with a wealthy woman asking about her sick daughter, Maddie is horrified to have to tell her that it is in fact the woman’s young son who has a quickly approaching death date. The woman does not take Maddie’s advice and feels she is threatening her young son. Maddie’s best friend even calls to warn her to keep a close eye on him in the hopes that his death date can change. Instead, Maddie and her best friend become prime suspects when that little boy goes missing after school one day. Things continue to get worse for Maddie and her best friend as more people linked to Maddie start disappearing. Is someone trying to frame her? Could it be someone who is close to her and knows what she can do? How can she stop anyone else from dying?
This premise is executed really well as you see how problematic and troubling this gift has been for Maddie and her family. Her uncle, a big shot attorney, tries his best to keep her out of jail for the suspicious disappearances that she seems to be predicting, but the evidence just keeps mounting against her. The reader cannot help but feel connected to Maddie and feels her fear as what is left of her meager world comes crashing down around her. The mystery itself comes to a very satisfying conclusion that will leave readers wanting more. Recommended for fans of mystery.