Kendrick’s (Acoustic Shadows, 2015, etc.) first foray into the YA realm tells a story of unusually talented young people tasked with averting the worst catastrophe in the history of the United States.
Dr. Stephen Pevnick is a renowned behavioral scientist working on a new experiment to see how savants—people with mental disabilities who exhibit exceptional skill or even brilliance in a limited field—might be able to work together on a common project. He’s brought together some of the world’s most brilliant young minds, but he has an ulterior motive for doing so; his 17-year-old son’s brain was damaged in an accident, and he secretly wants to find a way to communicate with him. Then the president of the United States asks for Pevnick’s advice regarding a looming disaster caused by an irrevocably damaged major fault line. Soon the scientist and his group of savants are thrust in the middle of a race against time that includes grand-scale conspiracies, militant revolutionaries, and cutting-edge scientific advancements. The country’s most acclaimed scientists have no idea how to stop the enormous tsunami that’s predicted to flood the coast from New York to Florida, so what can Pevnick and his young talents do to save America from collapsing? This intriguing blend of near-future science fiction, international political thriller, and apocalyptic tale revolves around the titular group of savants, and these well-developed characters are inspiring and undeniably endearing. The novel is powered by pedal-to-the-metal pacing, a seamless narrative, and subtle symbolism. Indeed, to classify this as solely a YA novel does it a great disservice, as it will likely appeal to young and old readers alike.
A thriller that many readers may find hard to put down.