Readers will root for this STEM-focused girl hero.

THE HERO OF NUMBANI

From the Overwatch series , Vol. 1

Young roboticist Efi dreams of creating a better life for her community, where omnics and humans live peacefully, in this novel inspired by the video game “Overwatch.”

Efi spends so many hours in her workshop ironing out bugs in her robots that her mother worries she isn’t connecting enough with best friends Naade and Hassana. But her work pays off when Efi wins the Genius Grant given out by her idol, Gabrielle Adawe, who founded both the organization Overwatch and the African city of Numbani. On the way to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate, Doomfist, who should be in prison, attacks the airport. The destruction left in Doomfist’s wake spurs Efi to put her grant money toward developing Orisa, a compassionate robot that can protect the city she loves. The immense pressure of this project strains the three friends’ relationship, forcing Efi to go it alone. While Efi teaches Orisa to integrate into Numbani, Orisa teaches her about responsibility and friendship—and as Doomfist provokes discord between omnics and humans, Efi, Naade, and Hassana must come together to save Numbani. Drayden (Escaping Exodus, 2019, etc.) gives Efi a clear voice in this engrossing read with smooth pacing and action-packed scenes. The main storyline is tied up enough to keep readers satisfied but interested in the sequel; readers don’t need to be familiar with the video game to understand the book. All characters are black.

Readers will root for this STEM-focused girl hero. (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57597-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...

THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes

LEGEND

From the Legend series , Vol. 1

A gripping thriller in dystopic future Los Angeles.

Fifteen-year-olds June and Day live completely different lives in the glorious Republic. June is rich and brilliant, the only candidate ever to get a perfect score in the Trials, and is destined for a glowing career in the military. She looks forward to the day when she can join up and fight the Republic’s treacherous enemies east of the Dakotas. Day, on the other hand, is an anonymous street rat, a slum child who failed his own Trial. He's also the Republic's most wanted criminal, prone to stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. When tragedies strike both their families, the two brilliant teens are thrown into direct opposition. In alternating first-person narratives, Day and June experience coming-of-age adventures in the midst of spying, theft and daredevil combat. Their voices are distinct and richly drawn, from Day’s self-deprecating affection for others to June's Holmesian attention to detail. All the flavor of a post-apocalyptic setting—plagues, class warfare, maniacal soldiers—escalates to greater complexity while leaving space for further worldbuilding in the sequel.

This is no didactic near-future warning of present evils, but a cinematic adventure featuring endearing, compelling heroes . (Science fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25675-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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