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Book Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

thefinalsixPublisher’s Book Description:

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

Karen’s Thoughts:

I have a tendency to be drawn to big issue books that make a powerful statement. My reviews often contain the words powerful, necessary, impactful, etc. But the truth is, I DO like to read fun books just for the fun of it. And some of my favorite ones involve outer space or the prospect of outer space.

The Final Six is a mixture of Space Camp + Climate Change + Political Thriller. This is a pretty thrilling combination if you ask me.

It begins by establishing that the world is on the brink of imminent destruction from climate change. The crisis feels real and far too close to home. So a group of teens are selected to compete in a training and they will be whittled down to “the final six”, the six teens that will be sent with some A.I. technology into space to help terraform and colonize a planet to save the human race. So there’s a little bit of reality show competition thrown in here as well.

While in training, Naomi first sets out to jeopardize the mission because she does not want to leave her brother. But she soon begins to suspect that they are not being told the truth about the mission, their future, and a past failed mission. So Naomi, a wicked smart scientist and excellent hacker, begins to investigate, with the help of Leo, who very much wants this mission to take place because he feels he has nothing else to live for. I very much loved reading about this strong, confident and remarkably intelligent young woman and her relationship with both her family and the developing relationship with Leo.

There is intrigue and backstabbing and romance, everything you want in a good book. I found it very enjoyable and didn’t want to put it down.

I will say, the only unbelievable part to me is that in the back of my head I kept thinking: there is no way that any adults would be willing to send teenagers alone on a space mission to do this and there is no way they could realistically train in such a short amount of time, but I also kept being willing and able to suspend that disbelief because I was enjoying the read. At the end of the book some of the teens, and I’m not going to spoil which ones, take off for space and I am looking forward to the next installment to find out what happens.

I highly recommend this book.

For more Climate Change Fiction (Cli-Fi), check out:

What is CliFi? An Earth Day Primer

YA/Teen | Eco-Fiction

For More Books that involve space travel, and I’m excited to see this theme re-surging in YA this year, check these titles out:

We Love These 6 YA Books Set in Outer Space

Our Most Anticipated Science Fiction Novels of 2018

MakerSpace Madness: Mod-A-Tee @ Your Library – Fun with T-Shirts

Makerspace Madness

Like most teen services/ya librarians, I’m heavy in the midst of planning my teen summer reading programming. This will be the second year of planning that incorporates our Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH) and we know based on our experience from last year that our current model works pretty well.

This year, we are going to do some thematic making in our Teen MakerSpace involving t-shirts. I was going to call it T-Shirt Tuesdays because I like alliteration, but the reality is that we have the most staff on Mondays, so now we are calling it Mod-A-Tee Mondays, as in modify a t-shirt. I will probably get bonus points if I mention that our Assistant Director came up with the name after I discussed my staffing concerns.

We chose t-shirts because we know that we work in a lower-income area where food and clothing can be a challenge for our teens so we wanted to teach our teens how they could easily make and modify t-shirts to engage in creative, self-expression at low or no cost to them. Later this year we will be doing a series of Make it in the Kitchen programs to address some of the food issues (more on that in a later series of posts). Blank t-shirts can be purchased pretty cheaply and used t-shirts can be purchased for next to nothing at a thrift store; both can be modified in a variety of ways to make not only new clothing, but things like pillows, book bags, and accessories.

modateeflyer

Because our Teen Summer Reading Challenge lasts for 6 weeks, we scoured, researched and tested a variety of ways to modify t-shirts and came up with the 6 that worked the best for us in our space and within our budget. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing those ways with you, telling you what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned. As always, I did a lot of testing at home as well. In fact, the idea for doing t-shirts came as we began making t-shirts and tote bags in my home with the teens that come in and out of our house. After seeing how much they loved both the process and the results, I knew this would be a successful activity for our Teen MakerSpace.

modatee

Week 1: Sharpie Tye-Dye

My assistant director also has really been a proponent of trying to do tye dye with our teens for quite a while. Being the mom to teens who has done tie dye several times at home, I am not a big fan of doing traditional tye-dye in the library (yes, not even outside) because of the amount of color and wet that it involves. But I have successfully done Sharpie tye-dye several times so we will be doing that. I will admit that it doesn’t have the long lasting staying power of traditional tye-dye, but teens enjoy it and I feel that it is a good, library friendly approach. You can find information on how to do Sharpie tie-dye here: TYE-DYE Made With Sharpies – Instructables.

For my example t-shirt, I used a template and Sharpies to make a small tye-dyed phrase on my t-shirt. You then spritz it with rubbing alchohol to make it “bleed” and give it that tye-dye effect.

sharpietiedye

sharpietiedye2

Several teens helped us make sample t-shirts and test our processes and they gave it a solid thumbs up.

Week 2: Screen Printing

I desperately wanted to do traditional screen printing in my Teen MakerSpace, I thought the teens would enjoy it and I wanted to learn how to do it as well. We even went and visited a local screen printing shop to learn more about the process. It turns out that we don’t really have the space or budget needed to make screen printing one of our stations as we had hoped. But there ARE a few creative ways that you can teach teens to do low tech, low cost screen printing(ish). We’ll be talking about those soon.

Week 3: Puff Paint

And yes, you read that right, we are in fact doing some good old fashion puff painting of t-shirts. We have found that teens love a lot of traditional arts and crafts AND that they love anything retro.

We’ll talk about weeks 4, 5 and 6 soon. Wednesday, I’m going to talk low cost, low tech screen printing.