The Future We Left Behind (UK title: 1.4) by Mike A. Lancaster

A year ago I discovered Mike A. Lancaster's wonderful gem Human.4. I've booktalked this book countless times at the library and always managed to sell it, all thanks to a killer plot that effortlessly draw readers in (it also helps that the book looks short and not intimidating at all, with a killer cover). Coming in November in North America is the sequel The Future We Left Behind (1.4 is a better title) and it's one of the most satisfying sequels I've read.

Everyone reveres Peter's dad, a notable scientist who has successfully engineered artificial life and saved the honeybees from extinction, which in turn saved the plants and saved the humans.  So when Alpha challenges his work in class, Peter is impressed. And curious. Who is this girl?

Turns out she is a Strakerite. Peter has been taught by his dad all his life that Strakertites are "superstitious primitives", who believe in the story one Kyle Straker has recorded on tapes detailing the upgrade of humans by aliens. Because people with power and status like Peter's dad have been so outspoken against the non-scientific beliefs of the Strakerites, they're ignored and relegated to the fringes of society.

Now Alpha, a Strakerite, is asking Peter for help. It's difficult for Peter not to be skeptical, but when Alpha shows him a picture of a committee that has conducted scientific research into Kyle Straker, Peter is shocked to recognize a man in the photo: his father. What is he doing there?

The Future We Left Behind  is a refreshing sequel because it incorporates and recalls the first book in an ingenious way. The sequel features an entire new set of characters but still advances the story of the first book.  Readers will eagerly peel back the layers of mystery surrounding Peter's family, and while reading Human.4 is like watching an episode of Twilight Zone, this second book has the same degree of intrigue and mystery, but feels more personal and has room for more readers' investment in the characters. I have to admit though the book can be hard to sink your teeth into right away, unlike the first book (well, that's what high expectations will do to you).  At the same time, if you've read and liked the first book, you'll probably keep reading, and you won't regret it.

Do visit the author's website and blog, and thank you Egmont USA for providing this advanced copy via NetGalley.
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