On a research mission to deep space, a girl makes bold and terrifying choices.
Miyole forged her papers to work on the Ranganathan, a 128,000-acre research-and-development ship. She’s 16, not the required 18, but she’s always wanted to travel into space and was impatient to leave Mumbai, where she was taunted as “the darkest” and “the exotic outlier” because she’s Haitian, not Indian. Onboard, she bioengineers bees and butterflies to pollinate terraformed planets. Then life takes a sharp turn: pirates attack a nearby spacecraft, and Miyole meets a girl named Cassia. Making the stunning decision to steal a shuttle so she and Cassia can pursue the pirates who kidnapped Cassia’s brother, Miyole pilots them into deep space. As they bargain with unsavory dealers, visit a frozen moon’s underwater settlements, and discover horrifying things, Miyole battles post-traumatic stress from an early-life catastrophe, including flashbacks that will be especially meaningful to readers who saw that tragedy unfold in Salvage (2014). Connections among her personal history, her ancestral history (the real-life Haitian Revolution; the science-fictional destruction, centuries ago, of Haiti by floods), and the atrocities she discovers in deep space are meaningful and well-wrought, as is the portrayal of Miyole’s tender and bumpy romance with Cassia.
Unpredictable plot, vivid settings, and a queer, dark-skinned black girl as a protagonist in far-future science fiction: essential. (Science fiction. 14-17)