YA Review: The Museum of Second Chances

Title: The Museum of Second Chances (Re-issued in 2021 as Subject Twenty-One)
Author: A E Warren
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 4/5

The Museum of Second Chances isn’t published as YA, but it is entirely YA-compatible, so I am very happy to review it here!

What if humans created a superior species using genetic engineering? What if Homo Sapiens were then held responsible for the damage to the planet, and forced to make reparations? And what if we used genetic engineering to bring back extinct species – including Neanderthals?

Book One of the Tomorrow’s Ancestors series introduces a world where unaltered humans are treated as manual workers, and denied luxuries as punishment for their destruction of the natural world. Teenager Elise is determined to move out of her manufacturing job, and her life changes when she is hired to work as a companion to one of the Neanderthals in the museum in the base where she lives. Her task is to spend time with him and make sure his life as a glorified zoo animal is interesting, while ensuring that he only has access to technology and food from 30,000 years in the past. Elise learns quickly that her job is not as straightforward as she hoped, and that there is more going on in her base – and in the museum – than she realised.

Elise is a sympathetic and engaging character, and right from the start I cared about her story. She is surrounded, at home and at the museum, by a cast of well-drawn and interesting colleagues, neighbours, and family members. I particularly liked her relationship with the museum nurse as it developed through the book, and her relationship with her brother. My favourite character has to be Kit, the Neanderthal she works with. His grudging acceptance of her companionship grows into something more as she finds ways to bend the rules, and make both their lives more interesting.

The ending is a cliffhanger, so I’m glad I bought Book Two!

Have you read The Museum of Second Chances? What did you think of the story? And what about the world AE Warren has created? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

The Museum of Second Chances has been re-issued as Subject Twenty-One!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.

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