Red constellations above a glowing planet

About the Book

Title: The Life Below (The Final Six #2)
Published: 2020

Cover Story: On This Episode of Cosmos…
BFF Charms: Be Mine, Meh
Talky Talk: Race to the Finish
Bonus Factor: Space Travel
Anti-Bonus Factor: Douchebro
Relationship Status: Appreciative Acquaintance

Red alert! The Life Below is the second book in the Final Six series. If you haven’t read the first book in the series (The Final Six), man your battle stations turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you’re caught up, however, feel free to continue below.

Cover Story: On This Episode of Cosmos…

This cover matches perfectly with the cover of the first book and reflects the plot’s move from off Earth. And y’all know how I feel about space stuff. (If you don’t: I love it.)

The Deal:

The final six teenagers chosen for the heavy task of traveling one of Jupiter’s moons to create a colony for humanity’s survival are on their way. Naomi is excited but also fears what they’ll find when they get to Europa, given her discoveries during training. And she feels very alone, especially with Leo left on Earth.

Leo isn’t content to just sit around and pine, however: He’s working with Dr. Wagner on a secret mission to bring the Final Six vital information about what truly awaits them on Europa—and get to the woman he loves.

BFF Charms: Be Mine, Meh

BFF charm that says "true love"

Leo remains a total dreamboat, willing to risk everything to get Naomi the information she needs to survive. He’s willing to go on a literal one-way mission in an untested spacecraft to do it, If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is. (Yes, he’s also crazy, but people in love are often a little bit insane.)

BFF charm with a :-| face

I tried really hard to connect with Naomi, but the struggle never led where I was hoping. I dig her brashness and willingness to be the lone wolf for the side of the right, but at the same time, I find her a bit boring? I wouldn’t make her sit by herself in the space ship’s caf, but I don’t think I’d try very hard to keep up a friendship.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Naomi and Leo are apart for much of the book (sorry, spoiler!), but their pining for each other is sweet.

Talky Talk: Race to the Finish

I’m not sure if there’s another book planned for this series, but in my mind, there both doesn’t need to be one and also really should be. The action wrapped up way too neatly at the end after the book meandered toward the climax, and I have a lot of questions—particularly the whole “life below” thing—that were never answered, and might never be, which is a tad lot frustrating. The Life Below felt like a bridge book that changed to a final book in the last chapter.

Bonus Factor: Space Travel

Space shuttle flying over earth in space

When I think hard about the idea of space travel, it freaks me the eff out. (I don’t like heights and being cooped up.) But I also love the idea with a passion that totally overrides all of my fears, and I love reading about people’s space adventures because I will likely never get to experience them for myself. (Dangit.)

Anti-Bonus Factor: Douchebro

A guy wearing a backwards flannel baseball hat and a fur coat; Scumbag Steve meme.

Beckett Wolfe is the worst kind of entitled white kid. I’m not one to wish violence upon people, but he deserves something life-altering to happen to him to make him see the error of his ways.

Relationship Status: Appreciative Acquaintance

I really appreciate your goals, Book, and I look forward to humanity’s new home on Europa. But we lost what we had in the beginning of this relationship, sadly, due to your rushing to push us somewhere we weren’t yet ready to go.

Literary Matchmaking

The Final Six (The Final Six #1)

If you haven’t read the first book in this series, The Final Six, I’m not sure what you’re doing down here. You’re the kind of person who reads the last page first, aren’t you.

The Weight of the Stars

And for something thematically appropriate but a little more down to Earth (literally), try K. Ancrum’s The Weight of the Stars.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

For more space travel adventures with high stakes, check out The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Harper Teen, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Life Below 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.