A deadly pandemic killing hundreds of thousands can only be stopped by one girl’s unique way of interacting with the world.
Sixteen-year-old Luisa Ochoa-Jones’ senses misfire when her emotions run high. Stress causes her to see flashes of color. She can hear a shift in the hue of the night sky. Her crush, Kamal, causes her to smell pine trees, while a meeting with an eccentric zillionaire triggers the scent of roses. Biracial Luisa is desperate to begin her life—to win a prized mentorship with a computer genius and find freedom from her hypercontrolling Mexican mother, but the outbreak of a deadly virus puts everything on hold. Modern medicine and governmental sanctions fail to curtail the outbreak, so when Luisa receives a mysterious computer message that hints at a cure and her white father falls ill, she decides to risk everything to save those she loves. Luisa draws upon her Mexican Catholicism, Kamal’s faith in Islam, and her shadowy correspondent’s references to Eastern belief systems and literature to find a deeper path toward a cure. The intersection of spiritualism, physical health, and a global community creates an evocative message that hints at the butterfly effect one person can have. Griffin’s near-future worldbuilding is stylish, immersive, and entirely plausible; a jumbled ending does not significantly undercut it.
A supernatural romantic thriller that defies convention. (Science fiction. 12-16)