368p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481491655.
Gr 9 Up—Earth, rocked by dwindling resources and increasing divisiveness, has been split into the Upperworld—the few privileged who still have a steady supply of food, wealth, and social mobility—and the Lowerworld, where the masses seethe and fight for their right to live. Cam is Upperworld, unaware of his privilege; when he sees a video of a Lowerworld girl, a revolutionary figure calling for peace and equality, he becomes obsessed with her. His desires, however, are waylaid by the impending space plan; Upperworld has built a huge spaceship capable of shooting thousands of humans far into space in search of a habitable planet. All Cam wants is to go into "deepsleep" and wake up on a fresh, new planet with Sofie, the revolutionary spokeswoman for the Lowerworld—but when he gets what he wants, all is not what it seems. This new planet is spongy and churning with strange-toothed insectoid creatures who try to kill them. As Cam becomes more involved in understanding the why and how of their presence on the planet, he is too far into the conspiracy to extract himself. A unique spin on the sci-fi trope of exploring new worlds, as much of the action is still focused on humanity's weaknesses. Detailed world-building is sacrificed to focus on character development; insightful backstories aid in rooting for (and against) the main characters. Even minor characters come alive with humanity under the author's deft workmanship.
VERDICT A strong choice for YA sci-fi shelves.

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