Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Midnight on Strange Street

Ormsbee, K.E. Midnight on Strange Street
21 January 2020 by Disney-Hyperion
ARC provided by Young Adult books Central

The town of Callaway, Texas, is a refuge from the global war that is going on and affecting Los Angeles. Avery has moved there because it was where her mother grew up, and when her parents divorced, her father was too busy with everything to spend any time with her. She is enjoying her new home, which is on Cedar Street, with other kids. She, along with twins Bastian and Lola and Dani Hirsch, have formed a Glowboard team called the Sardines. Glow is something that was found in Callaway, and is a much sought after commodity with a variety of powers, including the power to make hoverboards. All four children have some sort of powers that seem tied to the Glow. Another former friend, Zander, used to Glowboard with them, but is now riding with the Grackles and the evil Mitchell Jensen, whose father has a Glowboard factory. When the children start getting messages from alien beings, telling them to meet at a particular time, they are worried, especially since the twins' brother, Nando, is working for the government and won't tell them many details. With the big Glow in the Park race coming up, the Sardines are concentrating on winning. This is especially important to Dani, whose high powered parents don't consider it a sport and would rather she swim instead. They make her a deal that she can continue to Glowboard if the Sardines win. The Sardines continue to practice, and also hone their abilities to read each other's minds and "tether" to each other while racing. They are warned to stay away from the race, and are being followed by shady operatives. Will they be able to win the race and keep things in Callaway on an even keel?

This is an action-packed speculative fiction book with a very realistic setting. The Global War is always on the horizon, especially since Avery's father and Nando are more involved in it, but it hasn't quite reached Callaway yet. The Glow, and its effects on the area and the children, is an interesting topic, and I would like to know more about how it is involved in the war. Certainly the best way to use it is to create hoverboards with the ability to race at lightning speeds.

There is a subplot with the evil Jensens that adds a frisson of danger, and we, as readers, can see the actions of the people stalking the teens, even though they are unaware. Readers who enjoyed Savage's The Truth About Martians, Winick's Hilo series, Haddix's Children of Exile or O'Donnell's Space Rocks will find this futuristic adventure to be a winner.

I really wanted to know more about the Global War and how the Glow was discovered. For something so powerful, it seemed vastly underutilized. There was a fair amount of backstory that felt like it was missing.

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