Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Baen, Sep 2009, $24.00
Theo Waitley has lived a contented life on the matriarchal run “Safe World” Delgado with her mom Kamele and her mother’s onagrata Jen Sar Kiladi; both of the adults are professors. However, life abruptly changes when Kamele suddenly leaves Jen Sar and taking her daughter with her relocates into a smaller family housing unit. Professor Kamele adapts and quickly becomes a department sub-chair while Theo struggles with new friends and feeling clumsy and awkward residing inside the Wall after years on the outskirts. She also misses Jen-Sar whom she considered her father.
Matters change even more abruptly when her mom informs her she is going off planet for a half year to investigate a nasty accusation of scholarly misconduct that could shake several academic worlds. Ignoring Theo’s preferences to stay behind with her father, Kamele takes her daughter with her on a forensics documents search. Theo will either adapt or face much more shunning than just being considered physically challenged.
This is a stand alone Liaden Universe coming of age tale targeting young adult readers. Theo is a delightful center holding the story line together; ironically fans of the saga will know her true roots that have been hidden from her. With a strong cast and a solid forensics subplot, readers will enjoy the escapdes of the FLEDGLING whose life has changed dramatically (in her mind not in a good way since she misses her “father” and their suburban home) as she nears her fifteenth birthday.