The Book ✯✯✯✯✯
This gorgeous science fiction by Scott Reintgen is where Red Rising, Avatar, Ender's Game, and The Maze Runner meet. But it also stands entirely on it's own with a unique and diverse cast of teen characters. In fact, I highly recommend that any teacher or librarian in city schools pick this up immediately for your students that love science fiction. Reintegen is a North Carolina urban city teacher that had his students provide feedback to make Emmett what he is, and it was a brilliant idea.
Emmett is a poor African American kid from Detroit. He doesn't run in any hard gangs, he doesn't do drugs. He is a good kid with a kind heart and his mother has cancer. He grows into a leader of his own that recognizes it doesn't always need to be him leading. He's strong and determined and it serves him well throughout the book. Emmett is hand selected by Babel Communications for an interstellar space mission with the promise that he will earn $50,000 a month and all of the best medical teams for his family, permanently.
But Babel is far from a compassionate mega corporation, and there are nine other contestants selected. Thus begins the competition to make it to Eden.
This whole dang book of characters is fleshed out. I slowed down and took my time because I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling and learning about the different characters. There are Asians, Americans, Swedes, Africans and more. They are all from diverse backgrounds that are equally broken, and I loved it.
Bilal by far and away claimed a little piece of my heart. A Palestinian, he follows honor and hospitality as his rule. Babel's competition can't touch his friendly, sweet heart. And he is honestly the friend everyone hopes to have at some point in their life.
Kaya is steadfast, beautiful, and strong. She is kind to everyone and she reminds Emmett that he doesn't have to do things alone.
There are more characters from more backgrounds, but to say anymore would ruin an enjoyable ride. Suffice to say, I loved more than I listed here and you absolutely need to read this book to meet them all. None of the characters are perfect, most are incredibly easy to relate to and love. The world building is not entirely original, but still its own idea, and the competition is written flawlessly.
Thank you to NetGalley, Scott Reintgen, and Random House Children's Crown Books for Young Readers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.