Eva Nine has spent all her life living in an underground sanctuary. She dreams of going to the surface and trains every day for life in the real world, practicing survival skills using holographs. Muthr, the robot who cares for Eva, insists she is not ready. Ready or not, Eva is forced to emerge above ground when a hunter invades her home. Thus begins Eva’s adventures on a planet that should have been Earth.
Eva hopes to find other humans who, in theory, live in other underground sanctuaries. Instead, she discovers many curious beings whose ancestors traveled to her planet years ago. Stalked by a monster that collects specimens for display in a museum, Eva must rely not only on the skills Muthr taught her, but her own ingenuity and intuition. With the help of creatures that sense Eva’s innocence, she eventually uncovers the secret behind the existence of her world.
Science fiction lovers will enjoy the wild and unusual environment of Orbona, Eva’s planet. Set in the distant future, the characters of the book use a variety of fascinating and powerful technologies reminiscent of Star Wars. The reader will probably suspect the truth about Orbona early on. However, the plot’s twists and turns, DiTerlizzi’s illustrations and a conclusion that begs for a sequel should all serve to capture the attention of middle school students.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.