A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way. As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices put everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.
2016 Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
“A superior sci-fi outing.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lee’s debut novel is an intense, smart, and action-packed read.”—VOYA
"This gripping sci-fi novel will have teens screaming for a sequel."—School Library Journal
"This is a strong debut from Lee, combining brutal, visceral athletic scenes with science fiction action, all woven around a complex moral dilemma."—Publishers Weekly
"A thought-provoking read."—Booklist
"This book will keep students on the edge of their seat."—School Library Connection
Carr Luka is the perfect "zeroboxer" fast, strong, relentless, capable of maintaining his composure in zero gravity and he's on the fast track to winning the championship in the popular sport, which mixes mixed martial arts with freefall. As Carr takes down one opponent after another, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association labels the 17-year-old a rising star, even assigning him a "brandhelm" (a marketing specialist and PR agent) in the form of Risha Ponn, a beautiful Martian colonist who is just as hungry for success. Carr embraces his newfound stardom, but pressure is mounting from all sides. Just as he reaches the height of his career, he learns a devastating secret that could destroy everything he's worked for, and he's being blackmailed by someone who knows the truth. This is a strong debut from Lee, combining brutal, visceral athletic scenes with science fiction action, all woven around a complex moral dilemma. The only thing that doesn't quite ring true is Carr's rather chaste, underexplored relationship with Risha. Everything else hits as hard as Carr's punches. Ages 12 up.