An experiment in immortality is not what it first appears.
The Darwinians, a group of scientists, have selected six gifted teenagers, each representing a Nobel Prize discipline—chemistry, physics, physiology, literature, economics, and peace. The chosen teens will merge their consciousnesses with those of brilliant scientists through a process of brain implantation. At risk of losing their grant, the Darwinians add one last Nobel, as their subjects are called, this one for art. The selected teens seemingly go into the project with the best of intentions, but not everything proceeds as planned. The story focuses on three of the Nobels: Orfyn, the Nobel for art; Stryker, the Nobel for peace; and Lake, the Nobel for chemistry. When Lake is not able to fully merge with her scientist Mentor, the teens start questioning the process and motivation behind the program. This debut by a husband-and-wife team is an enjoyable read that nicely layers science and mystery with teen angst and romance. Although not all the teen Nobels are explored equally in depth, readers learn enough of everyone’s backstories to understand all the pieces while leaving more to be discovered in sequels. The book follows a white default, and although there is some diversity, unfortunately it is handled in a superficial way, and brown-skinned Orfyn is somewhat stereotypically portrayed as an urban graffiti artist living in an orphanage.
Recommended. (art and science references) (Science fiction. 13-adult)