From the author of Bonds of Brass, don't miss Hullmetal Girls, which NPR calls "a little Ender's Game, a little Hunger Games, [and] a little Battlestar Gallactica."
Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor's salary isn't enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.
Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she's from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.
In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha's and Key's paths collide, and the two must learn to work together--a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintian unity.
With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.
A Boston Globe Best Book of the Year
A Paste Best Book of the Year
“Filled with badass girls and epic adventures…this one's guaranteed to take you on a ride.”— Buzzfeed
"A captivating sci-fi adventure that will make you fall madly for Skrutskie's fabulous writing, if you haven't already. [Perfect] for fans of: Cindy Pon (Want) and Pierce Brown (Red Rising)."-- Paste
"A book you will devour in one sitting, Hullmetal Girls is not to be missed!"—Beth Revis, New York Times bestselling author of A World Without You and Across the Universe
"Hullmetal Girls has everything I love in a space opera: deep faith, high stakes, endless questions about humanity, and a cast that shows the best (and less-best) of what we might become." -E.K. Johnston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of That Inevitable Victorian Thing
★ "Unexpected and clever...A great science fiction story."--VOYA, Starred Review
"An engaging narrative with a complex cast that intersects race, sexual identity, religion, and class."--Kirkus Reviews
In this spacefaring adventure, mankind's fate rests in the hands of people who've traded their humanity for cybernetic enhancements to become Scela cyborg soldiers who serve the colonization fleet housing Earth's refugees. Seventeen-year-old Aisha Un-Haad undergoes the change to provide for her brother, who dwells in one of the fleet's most impoverished lower-class ships; 18-year-old Key Tanaka comes from their society's highest tier but has no memory of why she underwent the brutal process. Mentally linked with the rest of their new squad, the two girls become reluctant allies, even friends. As they work to protect the fleet as it searches for a habitable planet, they're forced to make consequential choices that could save or doom everyone. Skrutskie's (The Edge of the Abyss) tale is packed with diverse characters: Aisha identifies as aromantic and asexual, and adheres to a Muslim-like faith, while her squadmate Woojin Lih is pansexual; other characters are coded as Asian or Indian, and much of the story's conflict stems from class-based tension. Skrutskie's examination of what defines humanity, family, and free will makes this an engaging, satisfying story.