Quicksilver by R. J. Anderson. ★★★★1/2
First thing you should know: Quicksilver is a sequel. It has a different protagonist and shows many of the relevant events from the first novel through flashback, but you’ll still have a better grasp on what’s going on if you read the first book.
Since that’s out of the way, I really loved Quicksilver. Like, really loved Quicksilver. It has so much going for it, and it manages to avoid so many pitfalls.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because of spoilers for the first book, but I’ll post a sentence in the comments.
The characterization was overall excellent. Tori (or Niki, as she changes to), the protagonist, starts the book on the run from her past life, her mother helping her dye her hair in a gas station restroom. Tori is both smart and capable, with a passion for engineering. However, she’s also realistically flawed. She keeps putting up barriers and not telling people the truth, although it’s often easy to see why. She feels a desire to be “normal” and liked, and this often translates into her feeling like she has to lie.
Also, Tori/Niki is asexual. And she even uses the word! Do you know how rare this is for any book, and especially YA? Oh, and while Tori’s asexual, I don’t think she’s aromantic. There’s still sort of a romantic relationship here, it just is a lot more complex and very different than your standard YA book. If you want to know more about how Tori’s asexuality is handled, there’s an asexual blog that looked at it more in depth here.
Regarding the other characters, they all seemed very life like. I loved Milo in particular, and I was also impressed with the depiction of Tori’s parents. They are not perfect by any means, but they have a lot larger role than in most YA books and clearly love her. Also, Faraday from the first book appeared. He’s still a jerk, but Tori knows it.
Speaking of Faraday, I still don’t like his relationship with Allison. Way too many creep vibes there.
So, I’m not going to lie, I think you should probably read the first book, Ultraviolet, before you get into Quicksilver since it basically revolves around the fall out from the first novel. Still, if you can’t get into Ultraviolet for whatever reason, Quicksilver‘s different in a lot of ways and you may like it better.
Recommended to people looking for a rather genre defying YA novel, particularly if they like science fiction. Also very much recommended if you are looking for an asexual protagonist.