A tense, evenly paced YA thriller…
Costelloe’s page-turning thriller unfolds against the fascinating backdrop of 1980s Malaysia and Bangkok. Seventeen-year-old Scott finds his life in chaos after his father and stepmother are killed in a tragic car accident. Leaving his school and friends in Palo Alto, CA, behind, Scott moves to Malaysia with his mother and his stepfather. As he struggles to fit-in, he finds friends among his new school’s Volleyball team. When Nor, one of Scott’s Malaysian friends’ younger sister, gets kidnapped, Scott and his friends set out to look into the disappearance. Their search takes them to Bangkok, putting them face to face with a dangerous group of criminals. The story is told entirely from Scott’s point of view, and although the addition of supernatural elements feels a bit over-the-top, Costelloe provides readers insights into a variety of relevant social issues: cultural differences that separate the West from many Asian countries, sex trafficking, teenage angst, death, grief, bullying, violence, rage, friendship, and love. Scott’s struggle with the trauma of his father’s alcoholism and tragic death as well as his move to the new country and school as tries to find his own place in the world, is skillfully depicted. Costelloe is equally adept when it comes to giving dimension to the secondary characters and exploring their interpersonal dynamics and misperceptions. Readers are swept along as Scott, Saleh, Rayaan, and Chengjin set out to save Nor and Hannah, breaking the Thai sex trafficking ring. Deftly plotted and rich in detail, this engrossing YA thriller makes for a memorable portrait of a troubled teen gradually making his way against fierce odds.
Starship Malaysia: Lies that Save Lives.