Looking for the Next Big Thing in YA? Scot Westerfeld's HORIZON is it.

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There are two words that will always make me pick up a book to read it: "Scott" and "Westerfeld." So it was a given that when Scholastic sent me the advance of HORIZON, I was going to read it. And now that I have, I can safely say, "So should you."

HORIZON is more than the name of the airline that crashes early in the book, carrying a high school robotics team among other passengers. But this is no ordinary crash. The survivors survive because they were chosen to survive, crashing in a jungle that is passing strange -- and not just because the plane was flying over the North Pole (en route to Japan) when it went down.

Are they wildly off course? Are they even on Earth anymore? The questions and theories build as this unique group of kids encounter unusual plants, unrecorded species of animals, and technology that defies anything known to man.

Told in shifting POV from person to person, Westerfeld deftly demonstrates he is still at the top of his game, combining mystery, science fiction, and smart YA characters. However, HORIZON is a series that takes things a step beyond that.

It's also a game.

"As a lifelong gamer I am excited to work on a project that allows me to combine my two passions -- writing and gaming," said Scott Westerfeld in a Scholastic press release. "I am thrilled to work with Scholastic to plot the HORIZON series across seven books and several platforms to create a captivating and epic experience." According to the release, the game puts readers on a race for survival within an ever-shifting landscape and combines altered physics, the ability to build lifesaving gadgets, an eerie soundscape, and antigravity modes that allow players to fly -- or, if they're not careful, crash.

The game is available for free at scholastic.com/horizon, allowing you to become one of the initial survivors of Aero Horizon Flight 16.

HORIZON is a fast-paced genre-blending action novel that will take YA readers on a thrilling adventure; if you've been looking for the next big thing in YA, this is it.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0