cover image Kalahari


Jessica Khoury. Razorbill, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59514-765-3

Khoury follows Origin and Vitro with another exciting novel of teens battling corporate evil in a far-flung setting. Sarah has grown up far from civilization, the daughter of field biologists, intelligent but ignorant of the outside world. She’s also still grieving her mother’s recent, supposedly accidental death. After Sarah’s father hastily leaves their Kalahari Desert camp to trail poachers and fails to return, she finds herself in charge of five ill-sorted American and Canadian teens from a conservation exchange program. When a mysterious silver lion suddenly appears, “as metallic and gleaming as mercury,” and the poachers turn out to be hired guns working for an illegal genetic research laboratory, Sarah and her greenhorn companions make a dangerous cross-country trek to escape. Khoury’s favorite story elements are all on display, including the talented but isolated heroine, evil corporate scientists, and a wilderness setting. Sarah is a believable heroine and the Kalahari a fascinating environment, though the teens’ encounters with dangerous animals come a bit too regularly. Still, it’s an enjoyable biological thriller that will appeal to Khoury’s existing readership. Ages 12–up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Feb.)