After learning that the government faked an Earth apocalypse in series opener Consider (2016), 18-year-old Alexandra Lucas jumps through a vertex to transport herself 300 years into the future to warn her loved ones of the truth: that Earth still exists.
On the other side of the vertex is Solbiluna-8, a holographic world run by advanced humans—vances—who have convinced the new arrivals that Earth has been destroyed and that living in this new realm is their only alternative. Alex’s dark wit emerges through her anxiety as she remarks the world’s strangeness, down to the absence of toilet paper in her assigned quarters. Knowing this new place is a trap to enslave humans, the white teen is determined to find her loved ones and tell others the truth even though she struggles with debilitating panic attacks. Her allies wind up finding her, recruiting her into a secret rebellion group called the Umbra—but there is discord within the rebellion. Feisty narrator Alex engages readers from the first page, as Acevedo elegantly weaves in back story from the first book while building the moment-to-moment suspense of this mysterious holographic dimension. It’s a rare treat to see a protagonist who suffers from an anxiety disorder, showing readers humanizing frailty even in the context of a technologically advanced world.
It is Alex’s strength, sense of humor, and vulnerability that make this read compelling. (Science fiction. 14-adult)