- ISBN-13: 9780553534108
- ISBN-10: 0553534106
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Publish Date: February 2016
- Page Count: 320
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
- Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-01-18
- Reviewer: Staff
The spheres are mysterious artifacts that appeared one day; often hidden just out of plain sight, they are coveted for their ability to convey various effects—Copper for ambidexterity, Cranberry for better looks, Cream for athleticism, and so forth. While the more common spheres are relatively cheap, rarer finds can fetch massive sums, turning sphere-hunting and speculation into a lucrative business. Sully is one such reseller, trying to make ends meet at a flea market. When he teams up with Hunter, a resourceful girl with a knack for finding spheres, it seems like they might get lucky. However, their discovery of a never-before-seen Gold opens up new questions about the nature of the spheres and attracts the attention of a ruthless billionaire. In an impressive YA debut, adult SF author McIntosh (Defenders) spins an action-packed adventure that makes a statement about the relative value of commodities and self-improvements that can be bought, not earned. An engaging cast and thought-provoking premise help fuel this thriller, though the slightly off-the-rails ending doesn't quite live up to the story's other strengths. Ages 12–up. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (Feb.)
An imaginative urban fantasy
In a universe just slightly different from our own, small spheres in a rainbow of hues are hidden throughout the world, wherever people live. When matched with another sphere of the same color and “burned” by holding them to one’s forehead, spheres increase human abilities: A common pair of Army Green spheres promotes resistance to the common cold, while rare Mustards grant high IQ.
Sphere hunting has become a global business, where multinational corporations coexist with small-time flea-market sellers. Sully is one of the latter, trying to earn enough in his afterschool sales to help his mother pay the rent on their small apartment. When he meets Hunter, a teen girl in even worse economic straits, they team up to look for spheres, knowing that billionaire Alex Holliday will use any tactic to acquire the most valuable spheres . . . especially the match to the one and only Midnight Blue. The results of Sully and Hunter’s searches will change the world in ways that no one could predict.
The high-action ending, while unexpected in some ways, is appropriately set up throughout the story, making for a surprising yet satisfying resolution. Hugo Award-winning author Will McIntosh ventures into YA lit for the first time with this combination of urban fantasy, magical realism, science fiction and adventure. In this world, the bizarre seems normal, the fantastical follows its own rules and within these rules, anything can happen.