Sanity and Tallulah by Molly Brooks, 240 pp, RL 4

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks
Published by Disney Books
Purchased at Barnes & Noble
With Sanity & Tallulah, Molly Brooks gives us a glimpse into what reads like a fully formed world, one that I definitely want to visit again. Life on the Wilnick Space Station may be dreadfully dull to the kids living on it, but the brilliant, (mad) child genius that is Sanity Jones knows how to bring the excitement. Fortunately, she has her best friend, Tallulah Vega-Davisson, at her side and ready to help save the day. Breaking more than a handful of rules, Sanity has been using a modified stasis chamber (that has been deemed too dangerous to use by Dr. Soledad Vega, Wilnick's senior scientist and Tallulah's mom) and a few other modified lab instruments to engineer a pet. Brooks tempers this fast paced, suspenseful story with humor and playfulness.
Dr. Vega guesses what Sanity has been up to and confronts her during a sleepover with Tallulah. But this is far from the worst thing that happens over the course of the story! When Sanity's pet escapes the lab, worried for her safety and for getting into even deeper trouble, Tallulah and Sanity search the space station in the middle of the night only to find traces of something even more dangerous than her pet.

I'm not going to tell you what Sanity's engineered pet is because the surprise of it is such a treat. But, her creation is absolutely perfect and absolutely perfectly named! And, Sanity even finds a way to grow meat, which becomes another exciting thread in the story, to feed her voracious pet. As the suspense of the missing pet and the havoc it could be wreaking unfolds, the other fantastic characters in the story add to the interest. There is Tallulah's dad, Hank Davisson, who surprisingly rocks a man bun and a prosthetic leg, and knits in his spare time - possibly even creating the cool, off the shoulder sweaters the Vega-Davisson family wears. Brooks doesn't go into his history, but she does let drop that he is famous from Wanted posters and propaganda films. Sanity's father, who equally rocks a bald head and a goatee, is the director of the space station and her mother, Ven, and sister are off station, patrolling the "edge of breaker space" for unusual activity. I would definitely like to see Ven Jones on the Wilnick in the future! Classmates, shuttle pilots and a very frustrated Head of Environmental Contaminant Suppression round out the cast of this of intriguing characters. I realize I didn't say much about Tallulah, but there is so much else going on with this story and I'm sure she'll have her own star turn soon enough. Until then, I can tell you that she is a bright redhead with a passion for curried licorice and the serial show, Janet Jupiter.

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