"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein
29 June 2018
Skrutskie, Emily. Hullmetal Girls. Delacorte, 2018.
Aisha works as a janitor to support her brother and sister, but when her brother contracts the plague, she sends her siblings to live with her aunt and volunteers herself to become a scela, a cyborg bodyguard who works for The General Body. This won't earn her enough to move her family from the seventh ward up to the first, but it may be enough to save her brother's life. After Aisha's transition, she is placed with three other scela as a training group. Each is trying to keep secrets from the others, but when they uncover a hidden agenda during their training mission, they will have work together and trust each other to survive.
If you were to take The Hunger Games and set it in space on a fleet of ships filled with humans and Borg from Star Trek, you'd have Hullmetal Girls. I love the concept as a whole. I love the setting in space, three hundred years after humanity has left Earth behind. The scela transition was intriguing to me, and I enjoyed the political intrigue as well as learning about the different levels of their society.
However, the team Aisha is part of is a four-member team, and we really only learn about two of those people. Aisha and Key narrate this book, so we hear their perspectives on things and learn about the two of them, but it feels like the other two team members weren't really there. The book is even called Hullmetal Girls, yet there is also a male member of their team whom we barely get to know.
There is plenty of intersectional diversity in this book, although I am guessing that race isn't as much of an issue after three hundred years in space. One of the team members describes himself as pansexual, another member is transgender, and Aisha describes herself as aro/ace (we don't learn what Key's sexuality is, although it is mentioned that she had a boyfriend at one point). This isn't a coming out story, though; rather, the teens are fighting against the corrupt society and attempting to take down an evil leader, while also trying to save as many of their friends and family as possible.
The premise of this book is intriguing; however, the plot is fairly predictable, and the latter half of the book was so similar to every teen dystopia I've ever read that I found my mind wandering. That being said, this will be a popular book with teens who are science fiction fans.
Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: violence, some language
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Read-Alikes: Ender's Game, Old Man's War, The Hunger Games, Red Rising
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley for the purpose of review.