In a not-so-distant future on a Mars begun to be colonized, two girls get into and out of trouble time and again. Nanoannie is desperate to escape her hab (habitation) and experience life away from her parents, who she sees as domineering and overbearing. While Kapera is struggling to say goodbye to the home she knows because her parents want to take her to Earth in order to get treatment for her leukemia.
Neither of them have met in the flesh, but given that options are limited when on Mars, friendships formed can be strange company. When Kapera rolls up alone in her family’s rover to Nanoannie’s hab, Nanoannie jumps at the chance to investigate whatever might be going down at Kapera’s family pharm.
And when they find out that Kapera’s parents are missing, the girls are off! Stumbling into coups-in-progress, uncovering frozen corpses, being kidnapped, escaping, kidnapped again, and even married off, by friends and enemies and sects within friends and enemies. Confused and, in Kapera’s case, sick, the girls uncover a plot that involves Kapera’s own parents and the research they’d been knee-deep within. A plot that might just take them and most people on Mars on a one-way trip to no man’s land.
This tale is told via Nanoannie’s perspective and Kapera’s wrist journal, going back and forth between them. Time overlaps as the girls aren’t always in the same place experiencing the same thing in the same ways. This is a novel for those who like high-paced science-fiction with distinct voices, as both girls have very teenaged ranges and the style incorporates their virtues and vices. Despite the youth of the protagonists, this is a book that blends darkness with situational humor, leading to a few disturbing issues being pointed out, yet in the girls’ dismissive voice style.
Content warnings: forced marriage, references to rape (not the girls), various forms of unsuited deaths, religious zealotry