A night sky of galaxies and stars with the book title overlaid.

About the Book

Title: The Final Six (The Final Six #1)
Published: 2018

Cover Story: On This Episode of Cosmos …
BFF Charm: Be Mine, Eventually
Talky Talk: He Said, She Said with Science
Bonus Factors: Space Camp, Diversity
Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger
Relationship Status: Ground Control

Content Warning: There’s a scene of attempted suicide and some semi-disturbing scenes of injury in The Final Six that might be triggering for some readers.

Cover Story: On This Episode of Cosmos …

Gosh, I love outer space. And I love photos of outer space. And I love thinking about traveling to outer space (as wholly terrifying as actually being in space would be). This cover is visually stunning, and right up my alley. I also find myself chuckling about anyone who picks this up thinking it’s a serious space-science book.

It’s certainly way less cheese than the originally planned cover.

The Deal:

Earth has finally had enough with poor the way we humans treat her, and natural disasters are raging across the planet, reshaping the habitable land and forcing humanity too look to the stars for escape. After a failed terraforming effort on Mars, the only remaining option is Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. However, it takes so long to get there, the only people who would still be fertile (i.e., able to start a colony) at the end of the trip are teenagers.

Enter a worldwide draft that conscripts 24 teenagers into an International Space Training Camp. Six of them will be chosen to make the trek to Europa and create a new home. But is it as safe—and uninhabited—as everyone assumes?

BFF Charm: Be Mine, Eventually

BFF charm that says "true love"

Leo Danieli’s had a rough go of things lately, but he sees the draft as a second chance to do something amazing with his life. He’s so into the idea of traveling to Europa that it’s adorable, and he reminds me a lot of an Italian Steve Rogers. As a teenager, I would have had a massive crush on the guy.

BFF Charm with a sweatband on

In a world that’s seen so much destruction, very few people have made it through without losing someone they love. Naomi Ardalan is the exception, and her family means everything to her. She’d do nearly anything to stay close to them, including self-sabotage. I appreciate that kind of dedication, but could see it being hard to break into such a close-knit unit. She’s also WAY smarter than me, which High School Me would definitely find annoying. (Adult Me who would need her to use her smarts to save humanity would be totally OK with it.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Fate works in funny ways, and from the moment Leo and Naomi lock eyes during the draft announcement press conference, there’s a spark. But when you’re working toward a one-way ticket to the other end of the solar system, it can be hard to give in to those type of feelings.

Talky Talk: He Said, She Said with Science

The Final Six is split into Leo and Naomi’s POVs, which makes for a good mix of two sides of story; Leo quickly buys into the camp and Naomi’s a little more hesitant, thanks in part to the fact that she frequents a conspiracy theory website. Over the course of the novel, both move closer to middle ground, as they learn things about what’s going on behind the scenes of the camp and as they realize that many of their preconceived notions have a few holes in them. Monir does a great job of creating two realistic teenagers who, thankfully, undergo a believable amount of growth.

I also liked how much science Monir factored into The Final Six. Not being a scientist, I don’t know how accurate it all was, but it seemed to be well-researched and didn’t veer too far into science fiction territory, which some authors of near-future books often lean too heavily into.

Bonus Factor: Space Camp

The back of a kid's shirt that says "Space Camp"

I am on an email list that occasionally reminds me that there’s a space camp for adults—and for the low-low fee of $600+, I, too, can get the experience I’ve dreamed of since I was a youth. (I obviously need to start saving up.) Leo and Naomi’s experience at space camp was likely much different than mine would be, but that didn’t stop me from living vicariously through their experiences. Even their trips on the Vomit Comet, which I’m terrified of, considering how bad I get motion sickness.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Faces of all different races, ethnicities and genders.

As one might expect from an international competition, the 24 kids drafted to the program are from a variety of countries and are a multitude of different races. Leo’s Italian—as in, from Rome—and Naomi’s a second-generation Iranian American. There is a token white guy who checks a whole lot of stereotype boxes, but he’s definitely not the hero.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Cliffhanger

A man dressed all in black (Sylvester Stallone) clings to a cliff face

I went into The Final Six thinking, “Yay! A standalone!” only to get cliffhangered by the ending. I’m not unhappy that there’s more to the story, but I’m a little sore about the misrepresentation.

Relationship Status: Ground Control

I won’t be helpful on your trip, Book, as much as I wish I could be. But I can be your support here on the ground, and you can regale me with adventure stories on your occasional video letters; I’ll greatly look forward to them each week.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from HarperTeen, and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Final Six is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.