cover image Horizon


Scott Westerfeld. Scholastic, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-545-91677-6

This first book in the Horizon multiplatform series, which incorporates a digital game for desktop and mobile devices, begins as an airplane carrying four members of a Brooklyn robotics team%E2%80%94Javi, Molly, Anna, and Oliver%E2%80%94crashes over the Arctic while en route to Japan. The students somehow survive, along with four other young passengers, but everyone else on the plane vanishes. Even stranger, they find themselves in a jungle, surrounded by unusual wildlife and vegetation. The third-person narration switches focus among Javi, Molly, Anna, and Yoshi, a Japanese-American boy also on the flight, as the eight kids try to make sense of (and survive) their environment, using their own scientific knowledge. In his first middle grade novel, Westerfeld (the Uglies series) creates a mysterious but believable new world, as well as a relatable and diverse cast of characters. The fast-paced action and mystery surrounding the plane crash, along with seeing how the characters react to the challenges that arise, should keep readers glued to this book and eager for the next one, due in fall 2017 from Jennifer A. Nielsen. Ages 9%E2%80%9312. (Dec.)