cover image Tin Star

Tin Star

Cecil Castellucci. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-59643-775-3

In this intergalactic twist on Casablanca, 14-year-old Tula Bane is the lone human on a remote space station after being left for dead by a corrupt cult figure known as Brother Blue. She scrapes by as a trader, dependent on her ability to read body language among a variety of alien species that don’t look too fondly on humans. When three humans arrive on Yertina Feray after escaping their ship, which was supposedly destroyed, Tula learns more about Brother Blue’s deception and begins planning her revenge. Castellucci (The Year of the Beasts) creates a complex, well-drawn world full of political drama and intrigue; her protagonist is equally full-bodied, a tough, smart, and savvy survivor who—after the humans arrive—realizes how much she has been missing (“I had gone hungry at times during my time here, but truly I had been ravenous for touch”). Readers familiar with Casablanca will have fun finding the parallels, but no familiarity with the film is required to enjoy the twists that point toward the planned second installment. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kirby Kim, William Morris Endeavor. (Feb.)