The Omicron 6
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (02/2021)
Endy Wright’s “The Omicron 6” stars two incredibly special 14-year-old boys: Cooper Callister and Coupe Daschelete. One day during recess, Coupe saves Cooper from being beaten up by the class bully, and the lives of both boys are irrevocably changed. Discovering that they each seem to possess some sort of strange, superhuman abilities, they quickly form a bond that goes even beyond brotherhood. When teens and young adults around the country start disappearing, however, and they learn that the culprit is some kind of doppleganger of Coupe’s, things start to go awry. They find themselves forcefully uprooted from their home and transported to a clandestine facility up north, where they meet a mysterious, slightly shady Dr. Stein and four other teens who seem to also have special abilities. When danger strikes and lives are at stake, the boys will need to band together tighter than ever and realize their true capabilities in order to keep everyone safe. Overall, however, they will need to start considering how the environments they were exposed to impacted their developments, and how that development will need to play into their new roles as part of a scientific endeavor to strengthen the human race.
“The Omicron 6” is a unique, twisty take on the ever-present question in today’s science fiction: What would it mean if we were to start producing genetically engineered, modified children to have specific abilities in the hopes that they will transform the human race into something more profound and long-lasting? In particular, Endy Wright emphasizes the importance of preserving ethics during scientific experiments, even if it means the experiment itself might not be as successful or groundbreaking. In this story, we are introduced to a couple of young protagonists who had very different childhoods. One had a traditional, happy and loving American childhood in a home with two loving parents, enough food on the table, and with a solid roof overhead. The other, however, faced hunger, neglect and abuse of the worst kind. Later on, readers learn that these environments were picked specifically for each boy based on the desired outcome of a grandiose scientific experiment. Afterward, they are repeatedly forced to consider whether science can ever be a true justification for putting another human, especially a scared, young child, in a negative, potentially dangerous living situation.
“The Omicron 6” sucked me in right from the beginning. I thought it was a nice deviation from some of the more typical teen literature of the modern age. While I love a good ole’ rom-com and admit that I am a sucker for a good vampire story, it is always refreshing to come across books by new authors that just make you think about things from an entirely new perspective. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the story, whether it would be more of a suspense thriller or more science fiction, but Wright’s book is a nice blend of both. The short chapters and quick pace of the book make the pages fly by, especially once Part 2 is reached and the action really starts to pick up. The variety of characters and superhuman abilities introduced in the story also emphasized an idea that as science evolves and humans continue to adapt to their surroundings, we may be capable of more than we could ever imagine, if only we could have a little help to make sure we had the right composition of DNA.
I would recommend “The Omicron 6” to teen readers aged 14 and up. There are some images and scenes that are graphic or that may be disturbing to younger readers, such as those concerning Coupe’s childhood traumas. I think this book also has a great opportunity to reach teen boys. It seems like a lot of traditional Young Adult literature is inadvertently marketed and skewed toward feminine audiences, and I think that this has a big impact on why it seemed like it was always more common to see my female classmates get sucked into books and fandoms compared to my male classmates. We want to encourage kids and teenagers to enjoy reading, because it will help them understand the world better and also take them on journeys they could never have imagined. This book could definitely have a bright future in helping to accomplish this, and in my opinion is reminiscent of books such as the Maximum Ride series. I am definitely excited to see what happens in the second book!