Light Years by Kass Morgan
Hodder and Stoughton 2018. ISBN 9781473663398
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Space stations, Bullying, Discrimination. When the exclusive Quatra Fleet Academy changes its policy on admitting students from other planets, the best and brightest of Chetire, Loos, and Deva can finally hope for a better life. Known as Settlers and dealing with horrendous conditions and low life expectancy on their home planets, the students from Chetire, Loos, and Deva are eager to prove they are just as smart, if not smarter, than the Tridians.
Cormak, a black-market water-runner from the toxic planet of Deva, arrives at the Academy by accident, taking the place of his deceased brother, Rex. Together with being one of the first Deva people to attend the academy, Cormak wins the place of Captain on his team, drawing the attention of the Tridians and the disdain of his fellow classmates. For Cormak, this is all made easier by the rivalry with his pilot, Vesper, a Tridian and the daughter of their headmistress. Along with Aaran, a boy from Chetire, their team is completed by Orelia, a girl who claims to be from Loos but is hiding a dark secret.
Joining the Quatra Fleet is the dream of any Tridian and the admittance of Settlers into the highly competitive program is like a slap in the face. While the Tridian cadets try to maintain their superiority, they forget their common enemy and the reason the Quatra Fleet was formed in the first place. Can they overcome their petty rivalry to face the greater enemy in time?
Playing with issues such as bullying and discrimination, Light Years presents this space academy as a coming of age story. I would highly recommend to people struggling with issues regarding discrimination, bullying, or relationships aged twelve and up. Despite being set in space, the novel doesn't read much like a science fiction piece, rather a school drama.