Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race by Jen Breach, Douglas Holgate (Illustrator)

Clem has run away from an orphanage with only her trusty robot Digory to protect her. She wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a famous archeologist, but told that she’s too young and inexperienced to join a real dig. Yet, an opportunity arises from her past; her parents former assistant tracks her down with an offer to drive in what could only be described as an archeo-rally. Four days of off-road racing, with an artifact to find on each day. Winner take all!

Clem has all the earnestness and strength of Jyn Erso, and Digory has a great deal of the sass of L3-37. These are full characters that can be depended not simply see the world in black and white. A couple of shifty villains: tank-driving crocodiles and one you might not expect…

Breach and Holgate seem the perfect pair as there is a cool balance between character development and racing action scenes. A unique blend of futuristic YA Indiana Jane and a bit of coming-of-age. I really like how this ended. It really struck a mature and challenging cord for me.

Recommended.

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