Ready for a gripping YA debut novel? I might have just the thing…
Dragonfly Girl by Marti Leimbach
Genre: YA/Science Fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Date Published: 23 February 2021
Print length: 384 pages
Trigger warnings: Experimentation on animals, death, loss
Things aren’t going well for Kira. At home, she cares for her mother and fends off debt collectors. At school, she’s awkward and shy. Plus, she may flunk out if she doesn’t stop obsessing about science, her passion and the one thing she’s good at . . . very good at.
When she wins a prestigious science contest she draws the attention of the celebrated professor Dr. Gregory Munn (as well as his handsome assistant), leading to a part-time job in a top-secret laboratory.
The job is mostly cleaning floors and equipment, but one night, while running her own experiment, she revives a lab rat that has died in her care.
One minute it is dead, the next it is not.
Suddenly she’s the remarkable wunderkind, the girl who can bring back the dead. Everything is going her way. But it turns out that science can be a dangerous business, and Kira is swept up into a world of international rivalry with dark forces that threaten her life.
I went into this one not really sure what to expect. You only have to read my Reading Journey Tag post to know that I’m no stranger to YA books. However, as well as being a YA novel, Dragonfly Girl can firmly place itself in the science fiction genre – a genre I’m definitely not as familiar with.
Before Leimbach gets into the scientific parts, we are presented with Kira. Typical of young adult fiction, Kira is an outcast, has a troubled home life and has something she’s passionate about. It took a while for Kira’s character to shine through but, when it did, I loved seeing her passion for science, her determination and her strong will come out. I’m so used to reading YA books where the characters aren’t really developed, or are just very annoying, but Leimbach creates a character you actually root for.
Kira goes from a world of isolation to one of science, processes and information and – following the opening chapters which highlighted her isolation and rather mundane life – I loved seeing her in an environment where she not only thrives but shines. It is in this world that we meet a lot of interesting characters, from precocious Brit Will to dashing Rik and the powerful Dr Munn, and the story truly picks up.
Initially, I was quite worried about the scientific nature of this book but Leimbach explains different processes, procedures and experiments in a such a straightforward, readable way that it won’t scare off those of us who don’t regard science as our strong points. I was captivated by the great level of detail Leimbach employs in her writing and devoured this book in a short time – particularly the final parts.
My only complaint is the openness of the ending. I (wrongly) assumed that the loose ends would be cleared up by the end and was instead greeted with a not unexpected but, for many, dreaded cliffhanger. Of course, I think this means there will be further books (a series perhaps) and I’ll definitely be picking it up.
A Few “Thank Yous”
I wouldn’t have been able to read this book, or participate in this Blog Tour, without a few people. Firstly, I want to thank Anne Cater (of Random Things Tours and Random Things through my Letterbox) for organising this blog tour and allowing me to participate.
I also want to thank the publishers, Katherine Tegen Books, and the writer Marti Leimbach for allowing me to read an E-copy of this book via NetGalley. I really liked this alternative YA novel and I hope others will, too.
About the Author
Marti Leimbach’s latest novel is DRAGONFLY GIRL, a YA action/thriller about a high school girl with a gift for science who discovers a “cure” for death and ends up embroiled in an international rivalry. It is published by Harper Collins in February 2021.
Marti Leimbach is known for her bestsellers, Dying Young, made into a film starring Julia Roberts, and Daniel Isn’t Talking. She is interested in neurodiversity and has shared the stage with young inventors at the Human Genome Project (Toronto), the National Autistic Society, and the University of Oxford.
She teaches on the Masters Programme in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Dragonfly Girl is her eighth novel, but her first for young adults.
Dragonfly Girl is available to buy here.
That’s my stop on the Random Things Tour for Dragonfly Girl done! Don’t forget to check out the other posts as part of this blog tour.
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