- The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-266025-1 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-266027-5 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6–9
2067 marks the fifth year of total solitude for sixteen-year-old Romy, the only living person on the spaceship Infinity after the crew’s and then her parents’ deaths. NASA wants to continue the Infinity’s mission to travel to and populate Earth II, and it has finally developed a technologically advanced ship to catch up to Romy within the year. She and J, the young captain of the Eternity, begin exchanging messages, sparking up a flirtation, but soon there’s word of war and chaos on Earth, and their mission takes on new urgency. Or so J says, anyway, but a stunning twist takes the sci-fi premise into psychological thriller territory when J turns out to be not at all who he claims and Romy suddenly finds herself in a fight for her life. Romy reads as a very young sixteen, which works to the story’s advantage; a sense of unease builds as red flag after red flag pass by her unnoticed, and her naïveté and trusting sensibility makes J’s betrayal that much more awful. The last third of the book is a blur of action in hyperspeed that will leave readers breathless by this end of this satisfying genre mash-up.