Summary from Goodreads:
THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.
I really loved this book!
Cassie is 17 at the beginning of the book, getting read to turn 18. She is a genetically engineered baby. They were called “designer babies”. The book takes place on Earth in the future and infertility has become a real problem. Parents were allowed to use genetic engineering to create a more perfect child. They can’t pick the appearance, but were able to pick strengths like intelligence, musicality, athleticism, etc.
Cassie is working hard to try to go to space one day. NASA hasn’t really been funded well, and there aren’t voyages going into space anymore, but she has her dreams.
While working one day, her boss pulls her aside to tell her about a new program. They want people aged 18-25 to apply for a secret space mission. Because she really has no friends, Cassie is in. She just had to convince her parents.
Cassie’s mom is hesitant to let her go, but makes her promise to make some friends. That is not Cassie’s style though. She’s a loner and only cares about succeeding.
In the beginning, Cassie is focused and doesn’t really care about the others. She needs that number one spot for her chance to go to space. But over time, there are certain applicants that she forms friendships with. Her first real friendships.
I adored Mitsuko and Emilio. They ended up being my favorites in the book. Cassie was hard to like at times, but she did end up growing on me. But Suko and Emilio were so kind and funny. I need them in the next book somehow. I’m not ready for them to be done.
In the end, two people are chosen and one goes to space. The mission is secret until the end and there are some definite twists that I can’t spoil for anyone. The ending was a bit surprising for me. I knew something weird was going on, but I didn’t expect what it was.
I gave this book 5 stars and already ordered a physical copy. I received a digital copy from Edelweiss+ for review.
Expected publication: October 10th 2017 by HarperTeen
There is also a pre-order special here.