AGE RANGE: 14-17
SUMMARY: Denise is a sixteen-year-old Dutch and Surinamese autistic girl from the Netherlands who attempts to save her family by securing their place on an escape ship after a comet hits the Earth. Problems abound, however, because her drug-addicted mother often makes mistakes, her sister has not been found, and she has no idea whether her father has survived. To add to this drama, Denise has no skills (that she knows of), and the ship only takes in those who have “some use.”
WHAT I LIKED: What I liked most about the books is the fact that each of the characters make decisions I don’t like. I know this is odd to say, but I think about it this way: so many times, there are characters who make the “right” decisions and think the “right” things more often than not. This book is not like that. It is a great study of character in that tough choices are presented by various entities (the captain of the ship, Denise’s mother, Denise’s sister, other survivors), and Denise battles with her options, good and bad.
It is one of the most diverse casts of characters I’ve ever seen, and although there are many aspects of diversity addressed, it doesn’t feel forced or put out on display. In literature, most aspects of diversity are presented as issues – if it’s about trans people, it’s about how they “cope”; if it is about women in a male dominated realm, their gender is consistently recognized. Here, however, diversity is mentioned; it is discussed; it is part of the story, but it doesn’t drive the story specifically. Denise is autistic, and it definitely affects her life and how she manages her changed environment, but the main issue is how to ensure her and her family’s survival.
1 - I wouldn't recommend it