The Final Six, Alexandra Monir: Book Review

A stunning new take on the dystopian YA novel.

the final six alexandra monir book review
The Final Six Book Cover The Final Six
Alexandra Monir
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
March 6, 2018

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

With its stunning cover and focus on science and space exploration, I knew from the very beginning that Alexandra Monir’s The Final Six would appeal to me. Having felt extremely disappointed with the dystopian YA favorite, The Hunger Games, I have been fruitlessly searching for a great new dystopian series, that is, until I read The Final Six.

Featuring first love, intense training sessions in space camp, and a few unexpected twists along the way, The Final Six grabbed my attention from the very first page, featuring two distinct viewpoints. Leo, an Italian swimming champion that has nothing left to live for after losing his family to the devastating and unpredictable floods that have been wracking cities across the globe, and Naomi, a science prodigy and engineer in search of a cure for her brother’s dangerous heart defect, are two of twenty-four teenage champions chosen to partake in a test of skill.

This is an ARC review of Alexandra Monir’s The Final Six, which releases today, March 6, 2018.

*Special thanks to HarperTeen for allowing us to read and review before publication.

This review contains quotes from the book.

On a daily basis, Earth faces destruction due to the impact of global warming, a threat that may induce paranoia in readers due to the sheer possibilities of the future should efforts not be made to reduce the effects of climate change. Unexpected earthquakes and the resulting tsunamis have left multiple cities underwater. Massive storms have destroyed homes and caused widespread chaos, resulting in a declaration of war – against the environment. Earth is slowly becoming uninhabitable and in a last ditch effort to create a new world, the International Space Training Camp came up with a new idea – a mission to Europa, an inhabitable moon of Jupiter’s.

Through alternating viewpoints, readers are given a sense of foreboding. Although the Europa mission creates hope in the vast majority of Earth’s population, a few of the contestants are hesitant to accept their new fate. Without a choice, these teenagers from different backgrounds are forced to comply or face jail time, essentially for draft dodging. For some, Europa offers the hope of security – a second chance at life, but for a select few, it means abandoning their homes and their loved ones.

The second I am revealed to the world as one of the Twenty-Four, I become theirs – theirs to experiment with, to make into a soldier, to send to another galaxy.

– excerpt from Alexandra Monir’s The Final Six

Very real political and environmental possibilities present themselves through Naomi, Leo, and the remaining contestants, as they follow through with the rigorous training sessions in store at the International Space Training Camp. Although proper training could take up to a year, the teens are subject to long days in an effort to prepare them for space travel in a month. Despite clues that suggest  rivalries and intense competitions to determine the final six that will be sent to Europa, Monir turns the tropes associated with dystopian YA fiction around with a few unexpected surprises – knowledge, rather than strength, is key.

From hints that alien life truly does exist, to surprisingly detailed scientific explanations, The Final Six will most certainly appeal to the space obsessed or science geek in your life. Theories are not only possible, but sound in argument and convincing. Despite the danger associated with the Europa mission, Monir provides just the right amount of detail – enough that will make you want to be a part of space training camp – as she describes breath-taking virtual reality sessions, a futuristic life away from home, and the thrill of the unknown and unexplored.

From the beautiful relationship that unfolds between Naomi and Leo, to the completely unexpected and impossible ending, I couldn’t help but be disappointed in the fact that a sequel is not available right now. For the first time in years, I was pulled into an intriguing dystopian world, full of possibilities and unexpected twists.

Although the pacing can be a little fast at times, and some of the tropes, such as the corrupt and heartless adult figure, can be a bit much for an adult reader, The Final Six was a wonderful breath of fresh air. I can’t wait for a sequel and am excited that the series is already optioned for film.
Melissa Ratcliff
the authorMelissa Ratcliff
Senior Staff Writer
Reader, Writer & Translator. Cats, books and video games are my life.