Far in the future, a family of robots and humans tries to survive in this sequel to Under Their Skin (2016).
Centuries ago the human race was wiped out by killer robots. Nick and Eryn, white, human twins who have been raised by robot parents from frozen embryos, are part of the new generation intended to replace robots and re-establish the human race. But Ava and Jackson are robot children (who present white), illegal now that human children have returned. The four are bound together by complicated pairings and repairings among their parents. They have all taken refuge in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, where they meet Lida Mae, who claims to be descended from a Pilgrim and a Shawnee chief and to live in isolation there with her family. Lida Mae says she wants to help. When Jackson and his father need to go to town for spare parts, he gives himself superpowers so that he can escape the police. Those powers will come in handy when the group encounters something in the cave that they did not expect and learn that Lida Mae is not what she claims to be. Haddix delivers her beleaguered-family-against-the-world plot (familiar from other series) in multiple perspectives, alternating the third-person narration among the four principals. Lida Mae’s Kentucky holler–style vocabulary veers toward the extreme (“you’uns” crops up), but she does add some local color and style.
Patented Haddix adventure. (Science fiction. 8-12)