Synopsis according to Goodreads:
When McKenzie stumbles upon a portal, transporting her and her friend Hayes to the tiny planet of Circanthos, she learns the inhabitants believe she is the “One” destined to save them from H.G. Wells, a name that sounds strangely familiar, and his Tsendi warriors. But while her newfound ability might give her superhero status back on Earth, halfway across the galaxy it’s commonplace—all Circanthians can particle-weave—and if they can’t stop H.G. Wells, what can she hope to do?
With the portal closed and no idea how to get home, McKenzie must learn to use a power she does not want and accept her mysterious past, or risk losing everything—her father’s love, her new alien friends and the boy.WHEELS is a sci-fi adventure filled with mystery and romance—a coming-of-age tale that proves it takes more than super powers to save a planet.“
Wheels is one of the most imaginative books I have ever read. The world-building here is phenomenal, with attention to every detail, alien names for alien things, and not one but two entirely imagined races. It’s clear that Lorijo Metz was drawn into the world she was creating. And to be honest, I was as well.
She addresses a lot of things that aren’t often put in books:
- The main character is female, and disabled, and a sports star.
- The main female and male characters are bound by friendship and a mutual need to survive, not by romance.
- The science is shown, not told.
- The more ancient characters are not doddering grandmothers, but wise elders.
- It’s YA science fiction, not fantasy.
I really liked the book for those reasons, as well as for being very complete and steady in its pacing. The sole issue I had with the both was that often times things would happen with no purpose behind them (i.e. a character action or exclamation would come across as totally out of the blue, and the ‘evil’ character was a bit too translucent and one-dimensional), which is a flaw of narration sometimes.
But as far as a fresh, new YA adventure goes, I really liked it. I hope we see more science fiction YA out there, especially for YA readers of a science/math bent.
I recommend this one for young readers (there’s no swearing or sex scenes whatsoever), especially young female readers, YA fans looking for something new, and folks wanting a simple escape.