Dragonfly Girl

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Feb. 2021. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062995865.
Gr 8 Up–Kira Adams’s home life is a mess. Her mother is sick, and they are buried in debt. Winning a prestigious science contest takes Kira to Sweden and provides a much-needed payday until it’s discovered she lied on the contest application and may be disqualified. However, the intervention of the brilliant scientist Dr. Gregory Munn brings redemption and an exciting opportunity at his prestigious facility. Kira makes the most of the opportunity until panic and guilt over the death of a lab rat in her care causes her to expand on a colleague’s work and miraculously bring the dead rat back to life. Now known as the girl who unlocked the cure for death, Kira’s fortunes seem changed until she also discovers that the world of science has a dark side, and the one death she can’t cure may be her own. This is a compelling YA debut from the internationally bestselling Leimbach. All the characters have depth, especially Kira, whose growth will entice readers to invest in her struggles and cheer for her successes. Leimbach also handles the science well, explaining what is happening without letting it slow down the action, focusing more on the characters’ emotions than the scientific procedures. The book lends itself to upcoming volumes, which should be eagerly anticipated. Kira’s race isn’t specified, and there is a range of racial and ethnic diversity among secondary characters.
VERDICT A thrilling debut with a heroine to root for and an excellent story that will keep surprising readers.

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