Review: Qualify, by Vera Nazarian


Qualify by Vera Nazarian
Published by Smashwords Edition on December 22, 2014
Genre(s): science fiction, young adult, dystopia, fantasy
Format & Pages: e-book, 587
Find on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there’s a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.

Because there’s a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she’s a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she’s come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition–including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she’s been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die.

This book took me by complete surprise! I found it as a free nook book and the concept intrigued me, so I decided to try it out. From the very beginning, the story and its characters captivated me. It was like Interstellar meets The Hunger Games meets Divergent. Quite the combination.

Since I tend to love stories that include a bit of real history or myth in them, this book was right up my alley. Obviously the story of Atlantis is age old and has been used in stories aplenty, but Nazarian’s interpretation felt contemporary and fresh. The way parts of the culture she has dreamed up for this people is kept in the dark only makes me want to know more about them.

The characters in Qualify felt well rounded and plausible, particularly Gwen, our heroine. As a self professed book-loving nerd, I connected with her immediately. The decisions she makes and her ingenuity only served to increase her likability factor.

Despite its length, I devoured this book, finding bits of time to catch just one more section whenever I could. After finishing it almost two weeks ago, the story is still stuck in my head and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book, Compete. If it weren’t for other books I had already committed to, I most likely would have started – and finished! – Compete by now.

If you like YA, dystopia, or science fiction, I’d definitely recommend you give this a shot. Bonus if you read it on Kindle or nook – both are free!

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