This debut science-fiction series opener relies on the standard mad-scientist scenario, which provides plenty of action.
Mia, who’s about to turn 17, feels isolated from her fellow students at the superelite Westbrook Academy, a boarding school for the uber-wealthy. She mostly stays with her fellow townies. Brayden, a new student, has just entered on the scene when a strange virus invades the school that appears to make people die of old age within hours. Also invading the school is Blake, first posing as a journalist but returning with a private army that forcibly quarantines the school. Mia and her pals manage to escape in a lengthy and nicely suspenseful sequence, the best in the book. At last, they arrive at the enormous cave where Mia’s father does secret work. There, they learn the truth behind the virus and Blake. All the while, of course, a romance between Mia and the mysterious Brayden hangs fire. Just who is Brayden, and what is he doing there? Fishman concocts a marvelous enigma to underlie Mia’s father’s work, tying in an incident in Mia’s childhood that gives rise to the title. While the posh school and the mad-scientist plots don’t plow any new ground, the story will keep readers flipping pages.
Good entertainment. (Science fiction. 12 & up)