- Velocity by Chris Wooding
ISBN 978-0-545-94494-6 $18.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6-9
In this future Earth, the planet is still mostly decimated hundreds of years after the Omniwar, while looming above the earth is Olympus, a city where a few rich and powerful people, the Celestials, have their every whim met. Down below, Maximum Racing is the extreme sport of note, featuring potentially fatal car racing. Two girls manage to break into the circuit with a homemade car, escaping their poor, desolate hometown. They compete in the Widowmaker, a terrifying race that has a prize worth the risk: the winners become Celestials. Shiara handles tech and building, Cassica is the driver, and the two have an interesting bond that is complicated further once they leave their hometown. Cassica has always been egotistical and rather oblivious to the feelings of others, but Shiara has steadfastly remained her biggest fan and friend, until this risky adventure and its accompanying publicity threaten to tear them apart. British author Wooding perfectly balances racing action and drama with plenty of philosophical debate on fame and what having everything actually means. The conclusion is a bit predictable but still satisfying, as readers will be rooting for these two scrappy girls stuck in a dystopia they didn’t create.