November 24, 2017

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Light Years by Emily Ziff Griffin | SLJ Review

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redstarGRIFFIN, Emily Ziff. Light Years. 304p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781507200056.

Gr 10 Up –A lyrical science fiction novel about a sensitive and creative teenager tasked with saving herself—and the world. In a near future, Luisa Ochoa-Jones, 16, is a brilliant coder and has just been accepted into a high-profile internship program at a leading tech company. She is eager to begin her career and get out from under the thumb of her controlling mother. But Luisa’s plans change abruptly when a mysterious virus erupts that affects thousands of people, including her best friend and her father. Luisa and her brother Ben, along with her crush Kamal and friend Phoebe go on a cross-country journey to find a cure and stop the spread of the virus. The protagonist gets hints in the form of mysterious poems and has to learn to trust faith and intuition that extend beyond science and logic. Luisa also experiences overwhelming sensory effects similar to synesthesia (colors, sounds, tastes) when under stress or in highly emotional situations. Griffin crafts a gorgeously written tale with depth, suspense, intriguing characters, and an engaging plot that moves along like a gripping action film. The ending is a cliffhanger, leaving open the strong possibility of a sequel. VERDICT Unlike many sci-fi novels, the fast pacing doesn’t come at the expense of thoughtful character development. Highly recommended for older adolescents.–Margaret A. Robbins, University of Georgia, Athens

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2017 issue.

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