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Author: Griffin, Emily Zeff
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year Published: 2017
ISBN: 9781507200056
Grades: Grades 7 to 12

Light Years

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It’s the beginning of a dystopia: A virus is sweeping across the globe wiping out scores of people. The death toll is steadily climbing higher each day. The current government is still weak after a terrorist attack years ago and Front Line, a non-governed organization of volunteer first-responders from that attack who have been providing assistance that used to fall to the government, has stepped up again to try to keep things from completely falling apart.
The story follows the young and brilliant Lu (short for Luisa) as she interviews for a fellowship with a temperamental technology entrepreneur. She hopes to win the fellowship and finally break away from her overbearing, hard-nosed mother and sensitive, recovering alcoholic father to start her life on her own. But Lu’s plans for her future quickly go sideways when news of the virus breaks and people around her are catching the virus. When her father falls ill, Lu knows he’ll end up in quarantine unless a cure is found – but the world is descending into chaos.
Lu receives a cryptic message from someone who might know how to stop the epidemic and decides to chase the possibility of saving her father. Her mission will take her across the country, find her in the company of some interesting characters, and leads her to some shocking revelations.
The book deals with family issues such as divorce, recovering alcoholism, and spirituality, with some discussion about different religious beliefs. The ending does feel a bit rushed and is worth going over slowly, or reading twice. It is a stand-alone that is somewhat predictable, but would be good for young adults who like to be able to foresee what will happen.
Recommended for grades 7-12, though upper high school students might prefer something a little more complex.

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