Booklist Reviews

After humanity devastated planet Earth, the privileged 1 percent, or the Upperworld, are ready to abandon Earth, leaving the 99 percent to die, along with the planet. After a 1,000-year deep sleep, Upperworld can finally colonize a new world. But when Cam Newell sees a banned video feed of a Lowerworld protest, he feels a strange connection to a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing directly at him, and he's determined to find her. Bellin has created a fantastic world, one highlighting socioeconomic and racial inequalities that you see today but in a space opera, where corporations run the world. Bellin's decision to call the Lowerworld protestors "terrarists"—perilously close to terrorists—is an unfortunate one, especially since most of the protesters in the book are people of color who only want justice. Bellin makes a fairly strong effort to explore socioeconomic and racial inequality in his world building, though it's occasionally lopsided. Fans of sci-fi that touches on contemporary issues will be intrigued by this title. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

In Bellin's (Scavenger of Souls, 2016, etc.) imaginative far-future sci-fi, the people selected to escape Earth wake from their millenniumlong sleep only to find their new home planet uninhabitable. As their resources quickly dwindle, two teenagers are the key to human survival—or extinction.Cameron Newell, the 17-year-old white boy who narrates, is more love-sick puppy than intergalactic hero. Son of a high-ranking Upperworld official, his privileged life is completely upended when he sees a broadcast of a Lowerworld protest. Cam is immediately captivated by the mesmerizing brown-skinned young woman leading the crowd. Convinced she is the love of his life and desperate to find her, Cam joins the Lowerworld revolutionaries. Unfortunately, the brilliant, corporation-run world the author creates and the fascinating themes inherent to revolution and colonization of a new planet are suppressed by Cam's self-centered lamentations. For example, through Cam's eyes, a key polit ical decision is framed as a personal betrayal rather than an attempt to save hundreds of thousands of people. The most interesting aspects of the book, be they plot points or nuanced character development, are revealed through stretches of expository dialogue because Cam is too distracted by his single-minded crush on Sofie to know anything of value. Brings new meaning to "star-crossed lovers"—read it for the intriguing concepts that play out behind the romance. (Science fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 9 Up—Earth, rocked by dwindling resources and increasing divisiveness, has been split into the Upperworld—the few privileged who still have a steady supply of food, wealth, and social mobility—and the Lowerworld, where the masses seethe and fight for their right to live. Cam is Upperworld, unaware of his privilege; when he sees a video of a Lowerworld girl, a revolutionary figure calling for peace and equality, he becomes obsessed with her. His desires, however, are waylaid by the impending space plan; Upperworld has built a huge spaceship capable of shooting thousands of humans far into space in search of a habitable planet. All Cam wants is to go into "deepsleep" and wake up on a fresh, new planet with Sofie, the revolutionary spokeswoman for the Lowerworld—but when he gets what he wants, all is not what it seems. This new planet is spongy and churning with strange-toothed insectoid creatures who try to kill them. As Cam becomes more involved in understanding the why and how of their presence on the planet, he is too far into the conspiracy to extract himself. A unique spin on the sci-fi trope of exploring new worlds, as much of the action is still focused on humanity's weaknesses. Detailed world-building is sacrificed to focus on character development; insightful backstories aid in rooting for (and against) the main characters. Even minor characters come alive with humanity under the author's deft workmanship. VERDICT A strong choice for YA sci-fi shelves.—Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.