The Comet's Curse: A Galahad Book by Dom Testa

Lynn: The clock is ticking. Humanity’s days are numbered as the earth’s population sickens and dies following a close pass by the comet Bhaktul and the virus it spread through the atmosphere. Only those under 18 seem to be immune and as society breaks down, a scientist steps forward with a controversial plan. Two years later in a desperate attempt to save human kind, the rocket ship Galahad blasts off, carrying 251 carefully screened and highly trained teenagers to their new home on another galaxy. Captain Triana Martell and the ship’s council have a lot to deal with leaving their families and dying planet behind but right away it is clear that something is wrong. Someone has stowed away in the mysterious closed sections of the ship and the entire mission is in jeopardy.

In the first of six (!) projected books, Testa already has readers by the throat. Alternating between scenes onboard Galahad and flashbacks to the development of the project, the book is a high-tension blend of hard science fiction and intriguing thriller. A sentient ship’s computer and the developing relationships between the ship’s crew add both humor and interest but it is the sf plot core that carries this page-turner. I’ve complained at length about the dearth of genuine sf for teens and this book steps up nicely. This is a MUST purchase for teen collections everywhere – and be prepared to handle demands for the rest of the series. Teen readers will be asking for book two as soon as they get to the last page of The Comet’s Curse (TOR 2009). Readers: please note that after reading Cindy’s tear-jerker, I moved right to SF!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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