KAUFMAN, Amie & . 336p. Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484758052.
POPGr 9 Up—Mia, a scavver from the dregs of dystopian future Chicago, and Julian, a genius British student with a family history he wants to hide, are an unlikely pair to explore the hidden depths of an ancient Undying temple on Gaia. Decades ago, Earth intercepted a message sent by an alien race known as the Undying—a message that was both a promise of greatness and also a warning. Since then, scientists and scavvers alike have been traveling to Gaia, attempting to uncover the treasures promised in the Undying message. Jules and Mia have different missions, but as they continue to unravel the temple's—and Undying peoples'—secrets, their combined strength and intelligence prove critical to escaping the temple to share their earth-shattering discovery with humanity before it's too late. A fast-paced plot, likable characters, and creative world-building guarantee this volume will find a following, especially with readers of Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's "The Illuminae Files" and the authors' "Starbound" trilogy. Mia, an intelligent, physically and emotionally strong female lead takes agency over her life and thinks on her feet, while Jules provides a gentler, quieter counterbalance. Their careful romance enhances, rather than overshadows, the intriguing mystery surrounding the Undying and the temple's hidden dangers. While the story drags slightly in the middle, interesting discoveries keep the plot moving forward in exciting, unpredictable ways. A twist ending leaves the door wide open for an equally engaging sequel.
VERDICT A first choice, likely to be popular with teens.

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