As blog readers know, I read a LOT of YA/sci-fi and it's hard to find anything unique or different in the YA market these days. There's a lot of dystopia and still plenty of vampire books and mermaids and zombies and ...
This one is a futuristic tale of a society that has left the earth and lived in space for generations. One of the characters finds herself earth-bound (I won't give away the reasons why, but it's a terrific and believable build-up.) She then has to adjust to physically living on earth, as well as learning about the various societies in the over-crowded, overpolluted planet that her own society has eschewed generations previously. She's seeking a distant relative, and her struggle to locate the woman is believable and fraught with challenges.
One thing I'll say about Duncan's writing is that her world-building is exceptional. She gives readers multi-sensory experiences of various different aspects of the futuristic society, both in space and planet-side. Her characters are rounded, flawed, and sympathetic. And her plot is engaging and intriguing. Her lead character, Ava, starts out somewhat meek and mild and is born to a life of interstellar servitude. Throughout the book, she becomes a different person entirely - or rather finds out who she truly is on the inside and lets her true self shine through. Even when she makes mistakes, we root for her to succeed.
Duncan is definitely a writer to follow.