The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
When Leo and Naomi are drafted, along with twenty-two of the world’s brightest teenagers, into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever changed. Overnight, they become global celebrities in contention for one of the six slots to travel to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—and establish a new colony, leaving their planet forever. With Earth irreparably damaged, the future of the human race rests on their shoulders.
For Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, this kind of purpose is a reason to go on after losing his family. But Naomi, an Iranian-American science genius, is suspicious of the ISTC and the fact that a similar mission failed under mysterious circumstances, killing the astronauts onboard. She fears something equally sinister awaiting the Final Six beneath Europa’s surface.
Leo is alone in the world after the death of his family. In fact, he has nothing else to live for, when suddenly he is chosen to compete for a chance at heading to the stars. Meanwhile, Naomi has a wonderful family that doesn’t want to leave, especially with what she knows about the chances of the Final Six who will be chosen.
The Final Six is an exciting, science fiction novel for young adults. The story is told from both Leo and Naomi’s view points, alternating chapters. The characters are well-developed and the pacing is solid. The majority of the story is the competition at NASA to narrow down the young adults to the best choices to represent humanity – with thrilling challenges a possible psychopath bent on sabotage. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel – with plenty of intrigue, danger, suspense, and a bit of romance. Events build to a surprising finale and a big cliffhanger as the kids head to space. This sequel can’t come soon enough. And it’s no wonder that it’s been optioned for film already.