Bearing Northeast is a new Henry Melton YA sci-fi novel.
Sixteen-year-old Seth is parented by his older sister Biz, as she gained guardianship after they became orphaned. Sometimes it's hard to have that dynamic, but they've set down rules to make it work.
One thing that doesn't always work? Finances. And that is how Seth finds himself and his sister clearing out their parents' old vacation home to get it sold as soon as possible, even as much as losing the memories attached to it hurts.
While there, an odd metal cylinder crashes through the sky with such speed that it takes the bark right off a tree and embeds itself a few feet into the ground. Always curious, Seth is determined to figure out what the thing is - but the mystery only deepens when his sister helps him open it and they find a GPS tracking signal that leads them far northeast.
Seth takes the opportunity to convince his sister that they need a spontaneous roadtrip - that following the signal will make a great adventure together. And as they follow the signal, and Seth keeps his Twitter friends up-to-date and involved, he becomes more and more convinced that this is some sort of hidden project...
I'm a fan of Henry Melton - and he's back with Bearing Northeast, a novel in which he again provides us with relatable, realistic teens and family issues and relationships. He's also great at portraying honest economic realities - money troubles, layoffs, etc. It's always great to have an acknowledgment of what everyday people have to go through.
Bearing Northeast is one Melton's slimmer books - and I was instantly interested to see what sci-fi tricks he had up his sleeve for this one. However, I never really felt like it came. This was a novel in which Henry shows us some great ideas for advancement in technology, but not really the kind of sci-fi I go for. He's had books with time travel (Golden Girl), mind control (Follow that Mouse), aliens (Roswell or Bust), and more - but this one is perhaps more along the lines of his Lighter Than Air, in which we follow a likable teen boy as he discovers a new way to create flight and defeat gravity. Lighten Than Air was more scientific - as is Bearing Northeast. And that is great for those reader's who are more scientific minded and love that kind of thing - and I'm sure there are many.
But for me? Well, I was never bored - the roadtrip across America and over the border was full of great sibling dialogue and there was a good, surprising revelation near the middle - but it was a tad monotonous for me. I kept waiting for something more to happen - something more along the lines of, well, time travel, mind control, or aliens. The payoff for my patience wasn't what I hoped for - but this is a personal taste issue, nothing against the book itself.
Like I said, Bearing Northeast is an excellent novel for all you techies and geniuses in training - those of you who have a curious mind about the possibilities of new discoveries and like your stories to have good, solid characters as well.
Not one of my favorites from this talented author, but sure to be someone's!
***ALERT: Due to continued bibliophile reading overdosing, I am continuing the 5 reviews a week through August. After that, I am absolutely returning to only 3 reviews a week in September and on. So, we'll just think of this as a summer special! Thanks for reading!!!