Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson

Station FosaanMonth9Books, 2017.

The scientists recruited to go to Fosaan were promised a tropical paradise for their families to live in, but the truth is the planet smells of sulfur, the ocean is incredibly salty, and the jungle is full of incredibly dangerous animals. Still, Quinn’s not too bothered by those things, since there are so many cool animals to study and document. He’s curious about the native Fosaanians, too, but he’s never really had contact with them, that is, until he finds one stealing food from his kitchen. She’s beautiful and there’s so much she could tell him about her culture and the planet. Quinn’s glad to help her out by giving her food if it will encourage her to stick around and talk to him.

Unfortunately, there’s no time for the teens to get to know one another before the planet’s thrown into crisis. The scientists are all in orbit in the labs, the kids are alone on the planet, and communications are down. Something is very wrong and it’s going to be up to Quinn and his new friend to lead the way to a solution.

In Station Fosaan, Dee Garretson has given reader an engrossing book with appealing characters. They’re typical teens in a very atypical setting. Station Fosaan has enough potential romance to appeal to the romantically inclined and enough danger and action to appeal to the most seasoned gamer. Plus, for readers that like to stick with their favorite characters for a while, this is the first book in the Torch World series, so we haven’t seen the last of Quinn and Mira. Stay tuned!

The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker

30439157Spectacle, 2016.

Anna Morgan’s got voices in her head, but they’re not a sign of mental illness, they’re ghosts who take up residence. Anna doesn’t seem to have a choice about picking up these hitchhikers, and they’re darned persistent, expecting her to give last messages to their loved ones or finish business they didn’t complete.

Anna doesn’t love her special skill, but she’s used to it, and she’s learned how to achieve what she needs to to help her hitchhikers pass on. She thought she had, anyway, until a hitchhiker with a particularly gruesome death gets Anna wrapped up with other kids with super powers and a secret government operation.

Not simply a fast-paced, high stakes thriller, The Delphi Effect has strong, but sympathetic characters, a mystery larger than the first book, a huge helping of personal loyalty, and a sprinkle of romance — all the things that make for a satisfying read. These books are not for the violence adverse, but they’re a great read for anyone who likes an engaging read. I’m looking forward to books two and three in the series!

I read an electronic advance reader copy of The Delphi Effect courtesy of NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review.

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

SeekerDelacorte Press, February 10, 2015.

Quin, Shinobu, and John are training for a future of hard fighting, quick decision making, and the honor of pursuing evil in order to uphold the righteous. Quin can’t wait to take her oath and begin her work as a seeker with John and Shinobu at her sides. But what these teens are training for is not at all what they get. What happens that first night will cause Quin, Shinobu, and John to question everything they thought they knew, including the loyalty of everyone they thought they loved.

This is a fantasy/sci-fi adventure that takes place in the future in Scotland, London, and Hong Kong. The weapons are cool: swords that can morph into the size and shape you need them to be, thrown knives, bows and arrows. The teenaged characters are fit and fast and impressive. They’ve already been training for years to be fighters, and their reaction time and muscle memory show it. They’re good kids caught in a bad and very complex situation. How they deal with that situation and each other is the subject of the story.

Though the idea of this story is engaging, I wasn’t really drawn in to until about halfway through the book. I understood the myriad emotional trials the characters faced, but I didn’t find an emotional connection. The premise, however, left me curious enough about what would happen that I kept reading. I found myself more engaged–though never emotionally engaged–during the second half of the book.

This book may appeal to readers who enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and hand-to-hand combat. Stronger readers may be more likely to stick with the story. This is a first in a new series. I’d be inclined to try the next to see where the story goes.

I read an advance reader copy of Seeker courtesy of Delacorte Press and NetGalley.

The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson

Walden Pond Press, 2013

Haley’s plans for the summer after eighth grade have turned out to be a little disappointing. She didn’t make it into the exclusive music camp she’d gone to last summer. Even worse, she didn’t win the internship with the newspaper in New York City where she was hoping to meet her journalistic hero. But she knows she didn’t put her full attention into those applications, she’d been too focused on the application for the Fellowship for Alien Detection and the mysterious missing time events happening around the country.

Now Haley and her family are off on a road trip funded by the fellowship. Maybe she’ll be able to solve the time mystery. But Haley has a sneaking suspicion that she should have told her parents, and the foundation, the real reason she is so caught up in researching the possibility of aliens on Earth. Unfortunately, it’s too late now…

Meantime, Dodger’s got some misgivings about his own summer plans. There are no real reasons for him to stay in Washington State; it doesn’t feel like home, even though he’s lived there all his life. But what will he and his dad possibly talk about when they’re on the road doing research for his Society for Alien Detection fellowship? They can’t even manage to talk at home.

A great middle grade summer tale, my 12-year-old son and I both read and loved it. Haley and Dodger have the perfect mix of family dependence, early-teen capability, and just the right amount of angst. The plot is exciting and moves right along. We were both drawn right into the story and held our breath through the climax to the end. This is a book to read in the summer, or any time you’ve got plenty of time to contemplate the important questions, like what if aliens really did come to Earth? Would we even know?