Publishers Weekly Review
In DeYoung's debut novel, climate change is ravaging Earth, and the Exo Project is sending crews on one-way voyages to find planets that might sustain life. Having volunteered for the project, 17-year-old Matthew Tilson and his shipmates on the Corvus awaken in orbit around an Earthlike planet and proceed to explore its surface. They're the canaries in the coal mine: if they don't die, they'll contact Earth and colonists will be sent. The planet is radioactive, but, oddly, this doesn't affect them. It's also inhabited by a matriarchal society of telepathic aliens who are human in everything but color, causing immediate problems with Matthew's xenophobic crewmember, Sam. Shifting attention among multiple characters, the third-person narrative concentrates on the growing love between Matthew and the native ruler, Kiva, and on the mystery of the aliens' still-active Ancestors. Some odd plot maneuvers (including how easily the Corvus is retrofitted for a needed return trip) can feel like a letdown-this is perhaps a better pick for readers looking for extraterrestrial romance than for diehard SF fans. Ages 12-up. Agent: John Rudolph, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-Heat and radiation have risen to severe levels on ecologically bankrupt Earth. The global government, OmniCore, has developed a plan, the Exo Project, to find a new, habitable planet. Desperate for money, 17-year-old Matthew enters a lottery and winds up being cryogenically frozen so that he can join a three-person crew who are sent to Planet H-240, 100 light years away. The story is told primarily from two viewpoints: those of Matthew and Kiva, one of the Vagri natives on planet H-240 (known locally as Gle'ah). Matthew and Kiva have some depth as characters, but most of the supporting cast members are thinly drawn. The novel also lacks creative world-building: Gle'ah seems very similar to Earth, with breathable air, grassy prairies, and comfortable temperatures. The Vagri are so similar to humans in temperament and physical construction that mating is possible. There are points of tension: Will Matthew alert OmniCore that Planet H-240 will support human life? Will the Vagri outcasts kill the Strangers? VERDICT This romantic space adventure lacks full development of the characters and the settings. A secondary selection for most libraries.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
On a future Earth that is rapidly dying, OmniCore has introduced the Exo Project to launch volunteers into space to find the next home for humans. Seventeen-year-old Matthew volunteers, not for the glory but for the huge fee that will help his younger sister save their very sick mother. He and two coworkers land on distant Gle'ah, only to find others there before them a rather primitive matriarchal society run by a 17-year-old girl named Kiva, who has seen Matthew in her visions. As the two grow closer, Matthew must decide if bringing humans to this new home saves them or sacrifices the native Vagri. First-time author DeYoung offers straightforward yet effective storytelling, which makes for a refreshing change from science fiction with convoluted and multilevel plots. The third-person omniscient narration shifts mostly between the two main characters, Matthew and Kiva; however, this perspective diminishes some of the emotional intensity of the tale. Overall, though, this is an enjoyable read with abundant STEM connections.--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2017 Booklist