DiscoverYoung Adult Fantasy

Sophia Violet and the Fiery Orb


Worth reading 😎

A teenager learns that she's an important member of a shapeshifting alien society in this YA fantasy novel about family and the environment.

Some odd things are going on in 14-year-old Sophia Violet Meriweather's life: wolves have been sleeping on the fire escape outside her bedroom window, she has an "imaginary" best friend named Luna who can transform into animals, and she's forced to hide her striking purple eyes behind dorky glasses that correct her color blindness. Not even to mention the fact that she's just moved to NYC and has to start at a new school--with the classic teen drama, involving a cool girl who wears fake tattoo sleeves named Darva and an insufferable popular girl named Margot. But the ultimate issue is this: Sophia--the main character in Evangeline Greene's YA Fantasy novel Sophia Violet and the Fiery Orb--is not entirely human.

At her new school, Sophia quickly learns that she's from the planet Chiralis: a twin planet to Earth, occupied by energy beings who feed off ultraviolet light. Unfortunately, with the depletion of Earth's ozone layer, humanity is taking in more ultraviolet light and destroying both planets. Chiralians used to remedy this situation through an Orb Master, who placed an Orb that stored ultraviolet light on Earth. However, the Orb is missing, and time is running out. A suspicious Chiralian named Esmeray, her son Rayson, and her grandson Cru are searching for the Orb, but their motives aren't entirely clear.

Sophia, with the help of her Chiralian classmates and school principal Mr. Herald, is shuttled off to a special summer camp for her kind, unbeknownst to her parents. Unlike her peers, Sophia just learned that she's Chiralian, and she grew up in a human family (for some mysterious reason). She soon realizes that she also has Luna's shapeshifting powers--Chiralians can change into animals and transmigrate to other locations at will. Sophia spends the rest of her time at camp uncovering her own powers and the truth about her family, as well as realizing her integral role in the hunt for the Orb.

While the book sometimes reveals expository information through awkward dialogue exchanges, Greene overall does a great job building a world with relatable and realistic teenage relationships. The fact that the narrative is overlaid with an important commentary on environmental themes is both smart and timely. If Sophia wants to save both Earth and Chiralis, she'll have to directly address issues associated with modern climate change and catastrophe--just like real teenagers Sophia's age are doing today.

Reviewed by

Michelle Hogmire is a West Virginian writer with an MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She's the co-founder of the Appalachian social justice publication The Haint. Her work has been featured in BOMB, KGB Bar Lit Mag, and Columbia Journal. She's currently finishing her first book in Chicago.


About the author

abcdedghijkl mnop. Quriesd. Ejjeiiowow. Jejdiisisow. view profile

Published on August 22, 2019

Published by

120000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Reviewed by