As an impending alien invasion threatens Earth’s future, 17-year-old Latinx Alex Mata grapples with self-doubt, loss, and love in Singer’s assured debut.
Curious times await Alex: Terrifying rumors of alien encounters abound, and dissonant guitars and a teasing voice invade his mind. After an alien murders his parents, he’s wanted for questioning. Fleeing from Los Angeles to Seattle, Alex joins an underground group set on stopping the incoming extraterrestrial menace. Led by enigmatic tech whiz Jeffrey Sabazios, the group of teens must travel through time witnessing—exploring future scenarios and locking them into place—to ensure humanity’s survival. The U.S. government denies all suggestions of alien activity; the president’s daughter, meanwhile, encouraged by a time/mind-traveling Alex, learns the truth and plans on alerting the public. Things eventually, and predictably, take a sinister turn, ending in grim revelations amid an apocalyptic backdrop. The author succeeds more in his development of Alex, a young man learning to deal with his self-worth and feelings for others, including Paul, his white, gay roommate, and a black teen named Corina, his love interest. More intriguing thriller than hardcore science fiction, the novel mixes doses of political intrigue with extraterrestrial dread. Portions of the story are stretched out at unnecessary length, but sweet moments between characters keep things heartfelt.
Entirely human in its affections and an occasional page-turner. (Science-fiction thriller. 12-18)