cover image Starglass


Phoebe North. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4424-5953-3

In this gripping dystopian/generation-ship hybrid, the Asherah, centuries into its journey with less than a thousand souls on board, is mere months from making landfall. Its destination is the planet Zehava, where the largely Jewish crew hopes to survive long after the Earth was destroyed by an asteroid strike (one of the starship’s express goals is “the survival of Jewish traditions and culture even in the diaspora of space”). Life aboard is difficult, strictly regulated by the ruling Council and the necessities of scarcity. Fifteen-year-old Terra Fineberg is deeply bitter about her limited choices, both in terms of her profession, which will be chosen for her, and her potential suitors. Then she witnesses a murder and discovers a slogan carved into a tree, “Liberty on Earth. Liberty on Zehava,” and becomes enmeshed in a dangerous conspiracy to overthrow the Council. North eloquently depicts a culture trapped in a cycle of ritual and duty; the colonists’ efforts to preserve their heritage unfold in fascinating, sometimes disturbing ways. This richly textured first novel deserves to be widely read. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michelle Andelman, Regal Literary. (July)