A girl discovers the migraines and seizures she has experienced since childhood might actually be a unique genetic mutation capable of bestowing spectacular powers.
After being home-schooled because of her epilepsy, science geek Lucy Phelps desires everything that her senior year at a regular school promises: first love, prom, and graduation. All that becomes compromised when her attempt to repair a damaged photograph of herself as a toddler reveals a hidden message, leading her to the New Yorker Hotel and Room 3327 in search of answers. Once there, she inadvertently unlocks Nikola Tesla’s secret lab, setting off a chain of events that alters the course of her year and, perhaps, the direction of her life. Murderous alchemists woven in with a Faraday cage and references to classical literature, science, and history make for a page-turning read. However, the relationship that develops between Lucy and alchemist Ravi Malik, a 21-year-old Brit of assumed Indian descent posing undercover as a high school teaching assistant, crosses professional teacher-student boundaries and feels a bit tone deaf given the story’s contemporary setting. A white default is assumed for most characters, though some members of the rival alchemist factions are ethnically diverse, and Claudia, Lucy’s best friend, is gay.
Mostly an electrifying fantasy/sci-fi hybrid with unexpected revelations but one that unfortunately feels disconnected from the current conversations. (Science fiction. 14-18)