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2.0 1
by Fonda Lee

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It's been a century of peace since Earth became a colony of an alien race with far reaches into the galaxy. Some die-hard extremists still oppose their rule on Earth, but Donovan Reyes isn't one of them. His dad holds the prestigious position of Prime Liaison in the collaborationist government, and Donovan's high social standing along with his exocel (a remarkable


It's been a century of peace since Earth became a colony of an alien race with far reaches into the galaxy. Some die-hard extremists still oppose their rule on Earth, but Donovan Reyes isn't one of them. His dad holds the prestigious position of Prime Liaison in the collaborationist government, and Donovan's high social standing along with his exocel (a remarkable alien technology fused to his body) guarantee him a bright future in the security forces. That is, until a routine patrol goes awry and Donovan's abducted by the human revolutionary group Sapience.

When Sapience realizes who Donovan's father is, they think they've found the ultimate bargaining chip. But the Prime Liaison doesn't negotiate with terrorists, not even for his own son. Left in the hands of terrorists who have more uses for him dead than alive, the fate of Earth rests on Donovan's survival. Because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. And Earth didn't win the last one...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Seventeen-year-old Donovan Reyes has it all: his father is the “Prime Liaison” between humanity and the alien zhree, who conquered Earth a century ago, and Donovan himself, a technologically enhanced “exo,” is part of SecPac, enforcing the law and dealing with human insurrection. When he’s captured by the resistance group Sapience, he’s thrust into unfamiliar and dangerous territory, which grows even more complicated after he discovers a personal connection to one of its members. Still loyal to the zhree and to his father, Donovan is conflicted; determined to preserve peace and lives on both sides, he disobeys orders, questions procedure, and eventually stumbles on terrible hidden truths. Lee (Shadowboxer) constructs a plausibly alien future society and uses the premise to offer thought-provoking questions on occupation and colonization, placing her hero in a murky state of morality as she explores divided loyalties and conflicting obligations. Things perhaps come a bit too easily to Donovan at times, but the story’s open-ended conclusion begs for further development and exploration. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret. (Jan.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Exo
"Fonda Lee's Exo is a deeply immersive story that balances fantastic, original world building with spine-tingling adventure. Days after finishing, I was still thinking about it." –Sabaa Tahir, author of the New York Times bestselling series An Ember in the Ashes

"Exo is my favorite type of sci-fi adventure–a novel that makes you question everything you think about our world . . . and what it means to be human." –Kass Morgan, author of the New York Times bestselling series The 100

"Believable, suspenseful science fiction." –Kirkus Reviews

"Science fiction fans will love this title." –VOYA

"Ethical questions add complex layers to this exciting sci-fi offering." –School Library Journal

Praise for Zeroboxer
"Lee's debut novel is an intense, smart, and action-packed read." –VOYA

"A superior sci-fi outing." –Kirkus Reviews

"A thought-provoking read.” –Booklist

"A strong debut from Lee, combining brutal, visceral athletic scenes with science fiction action, all woven around a complex moral dilemma." –Publishers Weekly

VOYA, December 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 5) - Lauren Straub
From the start of the narrative, readers are introduced to a society in conflict—humans with opposing stances regarding zhree, the alien species, rule over Earth. Protagonist Donovan Reyes, a patrol officer with alien body armor called an “exocel,” runs a regular neighborhood patrol when he is tipped off about a possible covert operation run by a terrorist group. Donovan’s father, the Prime Liaison, is an important political figure among humans and zhree, and Donovan hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps and make him proud. As Donovan and his crew corral the suspects in question, Donovan ends up being seized by them, which could be a major political move for the terrorists. His survival might mean the difference between war and peace among humans and aliens. Meanwhile, Donovan faces inner conflicts that differ from his original views about who the criminals really are in his world. This is not the usual aliens-conquering-Earth plotline. In lieu of an ominous alien species coming onto Earth and destroying every aspect of the human race, these aliens are present in every day human life. Lee thoroughly establishes the different worlds, painting vivid pictures for readers to imagine. Donovan is a well-rounded character and even though his story takes place in a science-fictional world, he has real-life conflicts revolving around following in a parent’s footsteps and making sense of the world around him. Science fiction fans will love this title. Reviewer: Lauren Straub; Ages 11 to 15.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—After becoming a colony of an alien race, Earth has seen peace for 100 years. When certain children reach age five or six, they receive an exocel, or hard alien skeleton fused into their bodies. Donovan, 17, is an exo, and his erze marking designates him as an enhanced human soldier, indoctrinated since age 12 into training for SecPac, the colony's security force. His human father is Prime Liaison, the lead diplomat between the human government and erze oversight in West America. A human revolutionary group called Sapience instigates hatred toward SecPac by encouraging people to kill anyone who is erze-marked. During a shoot-out with suspected Sapience members, Donovan is captured by the group. After being tortured, he expects to be executed, but he becomes Sapience's bargaining chip after they learn who his father is. Even as he realizes that his father is not willing to negotiate for his release, he falls for a young Sapience member, Anya. The fate of Earth rests on his survival because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. Donovan discovers how his choices and actions can have devastating results, and his loyalties are torn among SecPac, his warring estranged parents, Sapience, and Anya. This action-packed novel asks readers to consider alien technology, what it means to be human or nonhuman, and the gray areas in war, where neither side is completely good or evil. VERDICT Ethical questions add complex layers to this exciting sci-fi offering. For large YA collections.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton
Kirkus Reviews
Sometime in the future, a young soldier working for the extraterrestrials who have conquered Earth fights a rebel group but learns that he has family ties to someone he sees as a criminal.Seventeen-year-old Donovan Reyes wants only to be a good soldier, even though he's the only child of the Prime Liaison, West America's ambassador to the zhree, who conquered Earth a century earlier. When he was a child, his dad had him Hardened, transforming his human skin into flexible armor plating called an exocel, rather like the zhree. Donovan gets along well with the fairly benign zhree, as does much of humanity, but a band of rebels remains determined to expel them from the planet. Captured by the rebels, Donovan soon learns that one of their leaders has a connection to him. He also meets the pretty rebel Anya and finds himself far too attracted to her. While in captivity Donovan begins to see rebels as individuals rather than criminals, while some of them struggle with the notion that despite his armor plating, Donovan is still human. When a new threat appears readers are left to wonder whether humanity's life with the zhree might be a good development. Lee keeps her science fiction credible, effectively building this future world and establishing its rules efficiently. Racial differences are mentioned, though Donovan and Anya both appear to be light-skinned. Believable, suspenseful science fiction. (Science fiction. 12-18)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Fonda Lee is the author of Zerboxer, which was an Andre Norton Award finalist, a Junior Library Guild selection, and an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. After spending years as a corporate strategist for Fortune 500 companies, she is now a writer and black belt martial artist living in Portland, Oregon. You can visit her online at www.fondalee.com.

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Exo 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CalvinJim 22 days ago
I was given an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In the opening chapter of Fonda Lee’s sophomore novel, Exo, two characters, Donovan and Jet, are observing a young boy while looking for terrorists. They are the titular Exos, police/soldiers who keep the peace in a post-War Era; humans who were trained and armed by the occupying aliens. Good science fiction is often a metaphor for what is happening today and this first image was a striking one. It reminded me of recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan where their citizens cooperated, sometimes at great danger to themselves and their families, with other occupying nations. I like to think that this is an image Ms. Lee had in mind, but in Exo, the situation has been reversed: Earth is now occupied by aliens and some humans cooperate with them to get ahead. What ramifications are there for families of those who cooperate? What do some people think of those who are “complicit” with the alien invaders? Ms. Lee stretches this metaphor much further, but I can’t say much more without spoiling the rest of the novel. The novel follows Donovan Reyes (a main character of colour too), a human teenager who was “hardened” with alien technology infused into his body. This hardening protects him like a suit of armor. As an Exo, Donovan is sworn to protect humans and zhree from dangers the likes of the Sapiance terrorists who want nothing more than to chase the alien zhree off Earth. When Donovan is captured by a Sapiance cell, he begins a journey of self-discovery in which he learns more about his family and his planet and his loyalties are put to the test. And it’s a novel I would definitely recommend for anyone who wants a fast-moving young adult science fiction. Donovan Reyes is a sympathetic protagonist. He is a tough, resourceful Exo and the decisions he makes, right from the start, impact the story all the way through to its conclusion. Yet he is still a teenage boy and acts realistically like one who sometimes allows his hormones to get the better of him. He is a teenager on the cusp of manhood who is very emotionally conflicted and with each decision he makes, good or bad, and we go along with him for the ride. And Donovan is followed by a great series of supporting characters. Anya, a young Sapience girl who we meet very early on in the book, was a well-rounded character and even though we never see her point of view, we can still see how conflicted she is in everything that she does. What little we find out about her paints the picture of a child who is a victim of circumstance. And Donovan’s father, although he first appears to be a typical, angry and misunderstood parent, is lifted above that cliche into a much deeper, more thought provoking character mostly because of his relationship with other characters. While there are several, fully-formed, well-rounded characters, some of the supporting cast struck me as a bit flat. Jet, his partner, seemed a typical happy-go-lucky, but loyal, best friend. But their relationship didn’t pop off the page and reminded me more of the loyal sidekick you see in buddy movies. Other characters, like his fellow exos, and even his zhree nurse, are given just enough scenes to understand who they are, but no more. I hope to see more of them as the series progresses. The world-building is excellent. Ms. Lee gives us a great amount of detail about the zhree technology, their political organization and the
forsakenfates 23 days ago
The premise of this book was beyond intriguing, you have the aliens, the humans who work with them, and the revolutionary humans. I really wanted to read and enjoy this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I've had the ARC for months but every time I picked it up, I could never get further than 40 or so pages without abandoning it for something else. The reason I give this 2 stars is because the promise was there and I eventually think I will finish the book completely but that time isn't now. ARC provided by author and publisher for review.