From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Three teens from around the world suddenly find themselves in an abandoned hospital the exact moment that their lives would have ended. Sophie was about to die from cancer in California, Anat was about to be suffocated in a tunnel between Israel and Egypt, and Declan was about to be shot in Ireland. This sci-fi thriller focuses on these young people as they try to make sense of their situations, get to know one another, and struggle to work out how they can get back to their lives-if they possibly can. Strangelets switches point of view frequently and introduces a lot of characters at once, making the start a little bumpy for impatient readers. The complicated but innovative premise falls short, and the pace of the novel jumps from tortoise speed to cheetah and back again a bit too often. Perhaps the biggest surprise of a story that starts with the main characters seconds away from death is that it all comes to a tidy and convenient end. Despite the bumps, Strangelets definitely serves an audience that is chomping at the bit for more dystopian thrillers.-Emily Chornomaz, Camden County Library System, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gagnon veers from cyber-thriller (Don’t Turn Around, 2012) to paranoid sci-fi with this tale of six multicultural teens (“a postapocalyptic model UN”) who wake up in an abandoned hospital. Each recalls the final moment of his or her normal life: Sophie was hours away from dying of cancer in California; Irish thief Declan was about to be shot in an alley; and Anat was traversing an underground tunnel between Israel and Egypt. So is this purgatory? Not exactly. After they break out of the hospital, they find themselves in a Long Island abandoned by humans but populated by scaly monsters with sharp claws. Perhaps the answer has to do with the heavy ion collider project one of the teens’ fathers had been working on? Much of the book has the feel of a prologue in want of satisfying developments, but it’s still fun watching the kids debate rapture versus nuclear disaster and come to terms with no longer being at the top of the food chain. A fun creature feature with smarts. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus