The world is about to be hit with an apocalyptic comet, and autistic teenager Denise must work to secure her and her family a safe place aboard a generation ship before being stranded on the wasteland Earth has become. This book is an excellent and underrated science fiction novel by Corinne Duyvis.
Young adult, science fiction, survival
January 29, 2035. That’s the day the comet is scheduled to hit—the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise’s drug-addicted mother is going, they’ll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter—a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits. But everyone on the ship has been chosen because of their usefulness. Denise is autistic and fears that she’ll never be allowed to stay. Can she obtain a spot before the ship takes flight? What about her mother and sister? When the future of the human race is at stake, whose lives matter most?
A science fiction novel with an autistic protagonist! As an autistic person myself, I struggle greatly to find representation that doesn’t involve the autistic person being a burden or entirely stereotypical. Denise was a rich and proactive character and whose voice is distinctive and likable. Even better, she’s female and a person of color, which is incredibly rare for an autistic character. The portrayal of the added struggles that come from being black and autistic and, in Denise’s sister‘s case, black and trans, was complex and greatly needed.
I loved this book’s exploration of the choices people and societies must make when faced with limited resources and an impending apocalypse, and the concept of generation ships choosing who is allowed on board based on their perceived usefulness. Generation ships and apocalypse stories have been done a lot, but rarely factor in the marginalized people who would be impacted most. This novel puts a fresh spin on the survival story, and the author is excellent at making you care what happens to Denise and her family. It’s an amazing book that’s far better than I expected.
There were a few minor parts where the plot started to drag, but nothing too annoying. There really isn’t much negative to say about this book.
The main protagonist’s voice was strong and distinctive, there was good, believable worldbuilding, compelling emotions, and a great, diverse cast. Check out this book if you need a good sci-fi to read!