Title: The Final Six | Author: Alexandra Monir | Publisher: HarperTeen | Pub. Date: 2018-3-6 | Pages: 352 | ISBN13: 9780062658944 | Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the publisher for review consideration.
The Final Six
When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.
For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.
As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.
The Final Six
OI! That was my first thought when I reached the last line of The Final Six. “Oi!” Alexandra Monir is completely and utterly evil with her endings. I did not see things working out the way that they did. I mean, I knew shenanigans would be happening. A glance at a few of the already submitted reviews let me know that there would be some cliff-hanging involved. But still. STILL.
Alright, so I’ve recently read two other books somewhat like this. One young adult, one middle-grade that dealt specifically with teens in space programs. And I’ll completely admit that I loved each of them for various reasons. Katie Kennedy’s What Goes Up had me in stitches when I wasn’t rooting for the main characters. Katie Slivensky’s The Countdown Conspiracy had me burrowed so far into the corner of my couch in an attempt to create a reading bubble that I had a stiff neck and a semi-permanent couch imprint by the time I was done with the ultimately very satisfying read. The Final Six is just as good of a read as the other two. I hope we see more books in this vein continue to trickle out. (Trickle, not gush. It’s better to sip than gulp!)
A lot of times, science fiction is set in space and tends to be years after we’ve had to abandon the Earth (or have at least already spread to other planets). The Final Six takes place after humanity has realized they’ve screwed the pooch, but before we’ve successfully placed ourselves amongst the stars. The two characters that we primarily follow through the book both deal with the immediacy of their situation in different ways, and both are believable. I particularly enjoyed following Naomi, but Leo was a perfect contrast to her.
I have to say, one of the things that immediately struck me about The Final Six was that the opening chapters deal with one of the characters intending to commit an act that can’t be undone. After I read the first few pages, Isat back in my seat, blew out a breath, and thought “Well, that’s one way to get things started.” I thought Monir did a solid job of laying out the absolute havoc that certain situations wreck on a person.
Now, this is a young adult book, so some level of smoochies was almost inevitable. Luckily, halfway through the book it’s not already to the point where they’re declaring their everlasting love for each other. It does, eventually, get all hormonal and star-crossed feeling and blah blah blah, but the author does a good job of slowly spinning out the development of the relationship in such a way that it provoked only the most minor of eye-rolls from me.
I thought the pacing of the book was great (even if the situation wasn’t necessarily believable). I thought the dialogue was good. The action was interesting. I really have only the most minor of issues with The Final Six, and Alexandra Monir’s story-telling ability makes those so minor as to not affect my rating.
Definitely putting The Final Six high on my list of recommended YA sci-fi reads!
Buy Link: Amazon