Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA \ Science Fiction \ Space Opera
When the 1% and the 99% clash, the fate of the human race hangs on the actions of two teens from very different backgrounds in this thrilling sci-fi adventure.In the Upperworld, the privileged 1% are getting ready to abandon a devastated planet Earth. And Cam can’t wait to leave. After sleeping through a 1,000-year journey, he and his friends will have a pristine new planet to colonize. And no more worries about the Lowerworld and is 99% of rejects.
Then Cam sees a banned video feed of protesters in the Lowerworld who also want a chance at a new life. And he sees a girl with golden eyes who seems to be gazing straight though the feed directly at him. A girl he has to find. Sofie.
When Cam finds Sofie, she opens his eyes to the unfairness of what’s happening in their world, and Cam joins her cause for Lowerworld rights. He also falls hard for Sofie. But Sofie has her own battles to fight, and when it’s time to board the spaceships, Cam is alone.
Waking up 1,000 years in the future, Cam discovers that he and his shipmates are far off-course, trapped on an unknown and hostile planet. Who has sabotaged their ship? And does it have anything to do with Sofie, and the choices—and the enemies—he made in the past?
Freefall, by author Joshua David Bellin, is a standalone, young adult, science fiction, space opera featuring Cameron Newell, with guest appearances by Sofie Patel, the object of his obsession. The story alternates between the years 2151 & 3151. In the year 2151, Cam, his friends Griffin and Adrian, and their hot shot families are preparing to leave Earth for a new planet called Tau Ceti E. They are part of what is called Upperworld, where the rich have had years to prepare to depart Earth which is doomed to an extinction level event. Then, Cam sees Sofie.
Sofie has been preaching the slogan of one world, not two, and has managed to become the leader of the Lowerworld with a huge following that encompasses what is currently the Middle and Far East after her mentor is assassinated. Sofie has been labeled everything from a Terrarist, to prophet, to a revolutionary, to the last hope for the Lowerworld where people have been dumped on for hundreds of years. Sofie has a plan, and that plan ends up encompassing a boy with no clue of what he is getting involved in. A boy who will be used, tossed away, and betrayed. But, who is Sofie really, and why should readers really care about a radicalized fundamentalist?
In the year 3151, Cam awakes alone, his pod was jettisoned leaving him castoff from the others on the Executor. As he slowly awakes from his thousand year sleep, Cam finds that he is under attack by a strange thing made of mist. Newelly screwed because the Executor landed on a planet that is not conducive to any lifeforms, including terraforming, Cam finds that he is the enemy of his own people, including his best friends. Yet another chess piece to be moved around, and then sacrificed by both sides, Upper, and Lower.
Cam, however, is too far gone to use the brain he was born with to open his mind and discover what is really happening under the facade. Instead, he uses the brain between his legs in order to continue his obsessive insta-romance with a girl who not only betrayed him, but used him in order to provide transportation for Lowers to another world altogether. After the Freefall, which is Sofie's ship, lands on the planet, Cam has to actually use his brain to figure out what is happening and why both ships landed on the same planet. Who is to blame, and why? What is Cam's part in all of this? Does Sofie have any clue how utterly gone he is when it comes to loving her?
You may think that I am being a bit harsh with my commentary regarding Cam. I assure you, I am not. From the first moment that Cam sees Sofie on a video screen, his entire world ends. There's no moving forward. He can't think of anything but Sofie. He can't do anything but think about Sofie and what she's doing. He runs off to NY where she is supposed to be speaking at the UN. He ends up joining Sofie in the Lowerworld where he basically doesn't do anything but sit around trying to make himself more attractable to the girl who will eventually leave him behind, and betray him.
I rated this story 3 stars because of the science fiction elements of the story. I rated this story because of the suspenseful action that takes place in 3151, not 2151. One could manage to say that this is yet another dystopian world where the socio-advantaged get whatever they want at the expense of the rest of the world. What would have made this story better for me? The addition of real life aliens that feast on the travelers. Or, how about an all out battle between the Upper and Lower over the only ship that actually matters when all is said and done? Bottom line? The future chapters were by far the only thing that kept me from rating this story any lower.