You know how sometimes you might click on a movie or TV show on a streaming service without really knowing what it’s about? I never do that. But I do pick up books and neglect to read the description before beginning, which is what happened when I started Alechia Dow’s sophomore novel, “The Kindred.” From the beginning, I was thrust into a magical “Star Wars”-esque sci-fi world … and then all of a sudden, we were in Florida.
So to spare you from the total shock I experienced when this happened, here’s the description you knew was coming.
Joy and Felix live in a world where all members of their society are telepathically paired with another person from birth. The intent of the Kindred program is to give a voice to the poor — but Felix is the first noble to ever have a Kindred who’s actually lower class. They are best friends, as you’d imagine two people would be if they were telepathically connected from birth, but they’ve never actually met.
Felix has just worked up the courage to ask his parents if he can meet Joy in person when, all of a sudden, the royal family is assassinated. And it turns out Felix is next in line to the throne, and everybody blames him for orchestrating the assassinations. So obviously, Joy has to help him escape, and the two of them steal a spaceship and take off. And then the ship runs out of fuel, and they crash land … on Earth, in the present day.
There is so much to love about “The Kindred.” The examination of the human condition, the hilarity that inevitably ensues when two aliens encounter Earth things, the very bighearted romance, the effortless queer and BIPOC representation. But my favorite thing was the endless references to Taylor Swift.
Just kidding. I mean, I love Taylor, but obviously, the story is terrific on its own, even without Joy becoming a Swiftie.
This book is truly unlike any other. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but I’m fairly certain there aren’t many diverse YA books about aliens on Earth, nor are there many books about a society with assigned soulmates where it actually works. I was fully absorbed into this book, finding excuses to read bits of it while walking or sitting in meetings because I just needed to know what would happen next.
As soon as I finished, I rushed to make a TikTok about it, and I really do not have the kind of time to properly maintain my BookTok account right now. (And then I accidentally filmed and uploaded it on the News’ TikTok, immediately realized, and had to delete it and re-film on my personal account. What a nightmare.) I just really cannot shower enough praise on “The Kindred.” Please pick up this book when it comes out. It’ll be winter break. You’ll have time to read it.
“The Kindred” is set to release on Jan. 4, 2022 from Inkyard Press. The publisher very kindly granted me an early copy in exchange for an honest review.