Jun 192024

Publishers Weekly: The warmhearted and immersive second sci-fi adventure in Divya’s Alloy Era series (after Meru) follows teen best friends as they circumnavigate a post–climate change Earth. Akshaya grew up in deep-space exile after her parents gave up their place on Earth to be together. Genetically engineered to thrive on Meru, the planet home her parents have fought so hard for, Akshaya dreams instead of adventures back on Earth. She and her mother strike a deal: if Akshaya and her friend Somya can complete the Anthro Challenge, a journey around the globe using only human-era technology, Jayanthi must give her the choice to stay on Earth. As she and Somya make new friends and battle mounting obstacles, including Akshaya’s own precarious health, Akshaya begins to question everything she thought she wanted. Informed by the author’s experiences working in science and engineering, and struggles with long-Covid-induced chronic fatigue syndrome, the narrative explores questions of belonging and friendship with a clear-eyed precision, bringing to mind the heartfelt emotion of Becky Chambers’s Wayfarers series and the worldbuilding and deep ethical questions of The Terraformers by Analee Newitz. Teen and adult readers alike will easily fall in love with Akshaya and Somya. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Agency. (Aug.)