Review: Akaela by E.E. Giorgi
I know from E.E. Giorgi’s previous books that she is an amazing writer. That talent shines through in this first rate YA novel. That’s not always a given. I can say from experience working as a mentor for a number of teens and pre-teens that writing compelling YA is not a simple task. I make a point to read whatever they suggest. That means a fair amount of Young Adult fiction. Some of it is awful, some pretty good.
Akaela belongs is the VERY good category.
Akaela and her brother Athel are part of a genetically unfit tribe of people. They require increasingly unreliable technology to stay alive. Their world is dystopian, but the reader is left wondering whether the future has fallen to pieces everywhere, or just for Akaela and her Mayake people.
With cybernetic technology giving the Mayake people diverse robotic super powers, the story avoids becoming a series of action panels minus the illustrations. Giorgi does an excellent job dealing with several topics that make YA so appealing to its targeted demographic. Questions of family loyalty, trustworthiness, independence, and loss are worked throughout the story without harming the plot and pacing.
I appreciated the questions of self-identity Akaela and her brother struggled with. How does one feel unique when everyone else is also special, and hence the same? Giorgi deserves kudos for the subtlety employed and bringing these themes up. Never once did it feel like I was being bashed over the head with them.
I’ve already recommended this book to a number of young men & women I mentor. I will join them in reading further. I’m looking forward to seeing where the series takes Akaela. I want to see what kind of a woman she grows up to be. I want to know how big her world truly is. I want to discover, with her and her brother, what place they will find in society. Finding out the answers to these questions is what makes good YA so appealing. They are unknowns we will face, or have faced, in the universal struggle of growing up.