Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
This is one of those dystopian books that while full of interesting characters and non-stop action, also looks at some pretty deep questions. First the story–Two identical space ships are traveling to create a New Earth, after mankind has pretty much destroyed our planet. Our two main characters, Waverly and Kiernan are the most important teenagers aboard the Empyrean, Waverly because she’s the oldest girl and Kiernan because he is expected to succeed Captain Jones when he steps down. Each ship is completely self-supporting, including the ability to grow fresh livestock and food. Although they left Earth at different times, they are expected to eventually reach New Earth together. Then the most shocking event occurs: the New Horizon appears outside the portal windows, and sends a shuttle to land on the Empyrean, despite Captain Jones’ direct orders not to do so. Before they know what’s happening, all the young girls have been either “saved” or kidnapped depending on who they believe, and are taken aboard the New Horizon, split up from the friends and families. Evidently, the women aboard the New Horizon have been unable to conceive children, and are hoping the girls from their sister ship will be their salvation. Let’s just say that life gets chaotic and unpredictable, both the the girls onboard the New Horizon and the boys and remaining families on the Empyrean.
This book is full of enough twists and turns to satisfy even the most reluctant readers. The action sequences are clearly detailed and easy to visualize. The characterizations are vivid and complex, with the main characters having both flaws and strengths to make them feel realistic.
As I said at the beginning of the review, this book also looks at some deeper issues, such as pollution, birth control, abortion and religion. It is not heavy-handed, but probes these topics in a way to encourage readers to look at their own beliefs.
I highly recommend this book to all young adult readers. It is engaging, fast-paced and realistic, perfect for anyone looking for a good title.