Written by the Twinjas!
Reasons for Inclusion: Tetra is dark-skinned and comes from a queer-accepting culture that doesn’t have gender roles. She’s also bi/pansexual. More diversity is expected in future books.
Sterling Wayfairer has one goal for his senior year: make his mark. He’s been slipping into the background his whole high school career—distracted by his mother’s mental health, unsettled by the vivid dreams that haunt him at night, and overshadowed by the athletic accomplishments of his popular best friends. But this year is going to be different. He’s going to break a few rules, have some fun, and maybe even work up the nerve to ask his crush out on a date.
But things don’t go exactly as planned. Students are disappearing, Sterling starts losing time, and it all seems to center around Tetra, a girl no one else seems to notice but him. When he finally tracks her down for answers, they aren’t what he expects: He and Tetra hail from a world called Noba, and they’re being hunted by a Naga, a malevolent shapeshifter that’s marked them for destruction.
Tetra and Sterling have distinct abilities that can help them fight back, but their power depends heavily on the strength of their bond, a connection that transcends friendship, transcends romance. Years apart have left their bond weak. Jumpstarting it will require Sterling to open his heart and his mind and put his full trust in the mysterious Tetra.
If he doesn’t, neither of them will survive.
Before the strange girl showed up at his high school, Sterling Wayfairer only had mundane troubles to deal with: getting his grades up, dealing with his mother’s mental illness, explaining his strict curfew to his friends.
Now, he now has a glowing hand, gaps in his memory, and a bizarre new roommate who can control water and read minds. Tetra tells him they’re both from a world called Noba- and that they’re spiritually bonded. Her mission: to take down a body-stealing monster.
Most of the troubles Tetra and Sterling deal with are typical high school issues: relationships, dating, friends, prom planning. Even though I’m not personally a big fan of mundane things like that, it was a lot of fun to see Tetra trying to fit into a culture that’s so different from that of her home planet. It takes her a while to get things, such as the fact that a “boyfriend” isn’t just a boy you know, and that you shouldn’t talk about sex at the dinner table.
Gender roles are another thing that confuse Tetra. On Noba, gender doesn’t really matter that much, so things like girls and boys being separated for gym puzzles her.
The issue of trust was very well done. Tetra can’t just swoop into Sterling’s life and recruit him, she has to earn his trust first. And manipulating his family into accepting her as an exchange student isn’t the best way of doing that. Neither is keeping secrets.
There are even more problems on the horizon for the duo. The Naga is getting closer, and Sterling’s visions of a fiery apocalypse are getting stronger.
The books leaves off on a cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to the next books in the series, and especially to seeing Tetra’s world.
(ARC received through Netgalley)