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By Katherine Keller on December 10, 2016 2:33 PM | Permalink

Mindee Arnett

Balzer + Bray, 2015. 423 pages.

Sci Fi
​High School: 9-12
CML Juvenile Fiction: JuvFic Arnett

At the end of Avalon, Jeth Segrave finally got his ship back, defeated crime boss Hammer Dafoe, and discovered the secret behind his mother's disappearance, the dying metadrives, and his little sister Cora's strange link to metatech. However all of that means that the Interstellar Transit Authority (ITA) has placed a huge price on his head. Jeth, his friends, and his family are in more danger than ever before.  Having nowhere else to turn, Jeth makes a deal with Daxon Price, the man who replaced Hammer Dafoe:  freedom for his friends and family if he uses some of his secrets to destroy the ITA and shares the secret location of the planet which supplies the necessary raw materials for metadrives. Jeth agrees ... but secretly plans to bring down Price in the process.  Can he pull it all off, or will he die trying?

Though Polaris is YA fiction and age appropriate, it's one that I feel no qualms about recommending to older, more mature readers of SF, because the quality of the writing, characterization, plot, and exploration of themes is just that good. Arnett does a fantastic job of weaving together layers of nuanced moral dilemma (such as what do you do when you discover your enemy's foot soldiers aren't bad people, but just people who had to make a hard choice not that different from yours?) and explores themes of environmentalism, sustainability, political autonomy, and self-determination without being preachy or overly simplistic.

Anybody who likes a fast-paced, action-packed SF story with  really solid world building will find Polaris a delight to read. Fans of the Red Rising trilogy and the SyFy TV series The Expanse will love it. Polaris is also a good read for anybody coping with huge upheavals in their lives, or who's facing complicated moral dilemmas involving issues of loyalty, trust, family, and coercion.

Bibliotherapy Topics:  Grief-Loss, Independence/Self-Sufficiency, Trust


Katherine Keller - TDRL Evening and Weekend Supervisor