In this free-wheeling sci-fi adventure firmly grounded by its layered characters, Lake (Whisper to Me, 2016, etc.) explores home, family, and the idea of belonging.
Raised on a space station since birth, Leo, Libra, and Orion eagerly await their journey to Earth. Each brown-skinned teenager has family ties and personal desires that pull and tether them to the ground (growing plants, hearing music, throwing a ball). But the home they longed for is less than welcoming. The novel’s syntax is the first true bit of worldbuilding. The lack of sentence case (only names are capitalized) is enough to mark Leo as “alien” without being obstructive. The subtlety of the exposition overall works well for the near-future setting. Narrator Leo is, rightfully, more captivated by the taste of ice cream and the feel of the breeze against his face than by the cosmetics everyone seems to be wearing and the private Amazon-like corporation that runs the space program. Considering the number of disasters and near misses in the book, it moves at a languid pace, allowing the tension to slowly crescendo and crash again and again. These moments are a pleasant surprise each time, as the book is driven not by the plot but rather by an overwhelming sense of majesty. Every scene is awesome in the most reverent sense of the word.
Bursts with wonder and love. (Science fiction. 13-adult)