New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones introduces sassy alien-hunting cheerleader Mana in Flying, the launch of a sparkling new YA Science Fiction series.
People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She's used to being coddled, being an only child, but it's hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother's babying gets more stifling than ever, she's looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.
But that night, Mana's life goes haywire.
First, the hot guy she's been crushing on at school randomly flips out and starts spitting acid during the game. Then they get into a knockdown, drag-out fight in the locker room, during which Mana finds herself leaping around like a kangaroo on steroids. As a flyer on the cheerleading squad, she's always been a good jumper, but this is a bit much. By the time she gets home and finds her house trashed and an alien in the garage, Mana starts to wonder if her mother had her reasons for being overprotective.
It turns out, Mana's frumpy, timid mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she's missing--taking a piece of technology with her that everyone wants their hands on, both human and alien. Now her supposed partner, a guy that Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up, ordering Mana to come with him. Now, on her own for the first time, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother--and maybe the world--and hope she's up to the challenge.
Mana is a spunky cheerleader with a somewhat normal life and an obsession with penguins. She is tiny and people have a tendency to be overprotective of her, including her two best friends, Lyle and September (Seppie). Mana's life changes the night she goes to a game only to see Dakota Dunham get "kidnapped" only to realize that Dakota isn't a normal teen but an alien who can spit acid. Later that night she goes home to find her mom is missing and there is an alien in her house. When her mom's alien hunting partner China shows up, it's about all Mana can take. She is determined to find her mom but she isn't sure who she can trust outside of Lyle and Seppie. She also isn't sure about these strange new powers she has. Could she be an alien too?
I liked Mana. She is an interesting contradiction of a strong heroine who at the same time can be a little babyish because of the way she was raised and overprotected by her mom. I enjoyed seeing her find her own strength. I was glad that she had good friends in her life who were there for her when she needed them but she did need to stand on her own two feet and I think she learns how to do that by the end of the book.
Lyle is a caring best friend and Mana is seriously falling for him though she tried to use a crush on Dakota Dunham to keep her feelings for Lyle from ruining their friendship in case he didn't feel the same about her. Seppie sort of disappears from the story for awhile as Mana and Lyle go on the run but she shows up when Mana needs her and she is pretty awesome too.
The book has a lot of action and humor. It reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as well as Cassandra Clare's City of Bones (but with a lighter touch and without all the angst and emotional drama) and Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen. Overall I thought it was fun and a quick read, perfect for a rainy afternoon. There are some questions left unanswered that I hope will be explained in the sequel. I think readers who liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Men in Black or the Alienated series by Melissa Landers should give this a try.
Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss