cover image The Light at the Bottom of the World

The Light at the Bottom of the World

London Shah. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-368-03688-7

In this thrilling postapocalyptic tale set in 2099, after civilization was forced underwater by global flooding, a young Muslim woman searches for her unjustly imprisoned father amid the remnants of Great Britain. British-Afghan Leyla McQueen, 16, a champion submersible racer, hopes to free her father (jailed for “aiding and abetting citizen suicides” among sufferers of an underwater malaise called “the seasickness”) by winning the prestigious London Submersible Marathon. When that hope doesn’t pay off, she sets out into the treacherous ocean to find him herself, accompanied by Ari, a mysterious young man sent by her grandfather to protect her. Despite Leyla’s insistence that she doesn’t need any help, the waters are filled with enemies, including the genetically engineered Anthropoids who prey upon humans, and the authorities who want to prevent Leyla and Ari from discovering the truths hidden in the dark depths of a drowned world. Shah’s strong debut, first in a planned duology, is vividly described and emotionally rich. Despite predictable plot points and an insufficiently explained underwater setting, the strong premise and underlying sense of excitement make this a fast-paced, wholly enjoyable adventure. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary Agency. (Oct.) [/em]