SCIENCE! by Ashley Robinson


The Elements of Dark Energy
Age Range: 12 - 16
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Supergenius teens explore the potentials of dark energy and uncover secrets at their school.

The Prometheus Institute is a science academy for gifted students that seeks to “cultivate the greatest minds of this generation.” Here students specialize in quantum mechanics, mechanical engineering, advanced genetics, and more. Tamsin Kuhn Trackroo is no exception. The daughter of the school’s previous, deceased headmaster and a protégée of its current one, Tamsin is a theoretical and applied physicist determined to use a hologram of her father to understand and avenge his untimely death. But when the experiments her roommate (and maybe-girlfriend), Garyn, is conducting on dark energy take a dramatic and dangerous turn, Tamsin finds that everything she thought she knew about the people she cares for may not be as it seems. Dialogue is sometimes stilted and self-conscious (“If you continue with this version of your rocket boots, I believe you’ll make your twin sister, Rosie, an orphan,” Tamsin chides a classmate), and on the whole characters feel underdeveloped. The illustrations lean toward a classic superhero comic-book style, and inset panels include science facts as they pertain to the plot. This blending of fact and fiction isn’t disruptive, but neither is it as effective as other comics that blend STEM and story (Secret Coders, The Earth Before Us) or other comics with footnotes or sidebars (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, for example). The teen students have diverse racial and ethnic identities; Tamsin is Indian American, and Garyn is a young woman of color.

Enjoyable enough—but not universe-expanding. (Graphic science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-988715-27-8
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Bedside Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019