Jacket design by Erin Fitzsimmons and Molly Fehr; art by Getty Images and Shutterstock
I first noticed Alexandra Monir when Jessica Brody described her supernatural romance Suspicion as “If Alfred Hitchcock had directed Downton Abbey,” which is the kind of thing that gets my attention. Monir is an Iranian-American who’s published multiple novels for young adults, including The Girl in the Picture and Timeless. Her current series is near-future SF; it began with The Final Six, the story of teen astronauts o a dying Earth competing for a trip to Europa. The sequel The Life Below arrived this week; Kirkus calls it “Fast-paced and plot-driven, the novel decidedly veers into science fiction horror territory with plenty of scares.” Also the kind of thing that gets my attention. Here’s the publisher’s description.
It was hard enough for Naomi to leave Leo, a fellow Final Six contestant, behind on a dying Earth. Now she doesn’t know who to trust.
The International Space Training Camp continues to dodge every question about its past failed mission, and Naomi is suspicious that not everything is as it seems on her own mission to Europa. With just one shot at Jupiter’s moon, Naomi is determined to find out if there is dangerous alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there.
Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him to space where he can dock with Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa — it’s a definite, and it’s up to Leo to find and warn Naomi and the crew.
With questions piling up, everything gets more dangerous the closer that the mission gets to Europa. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and all questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous mission get answered in a terrifying way.
If the dream was to establish a new world for humans on Europa…the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.
The Life Below was published by HarperTeen on February 18, 2020. It is 311 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover, $10.99 in digital formats. Read an excerpt from The FInal Six at HappyEverAfter.com, and see all our recent New Treasures here.