BookView Review: Starship Malaysia: Lies that Save Lives by Keith Costelloe

BookView Review rated it:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Starship Malaysia: Lies that Save Lives.

Keith Costelloe

Coming soon

Author interview


An adolescent’s struggles with grief and fitting-in form a backdrop to Costelloe’s absorbing YA thriller. Scott, a seventeen-year-old American teen from Palo Alto, CA, has a dream in which his father and stepmother are killed in a car accident. When his dream comes true, Scott has no option but to join his mother and her husband to Malaysia. He becomes good friends with Saleh, a Malay boy. When Saleh’s sister, Nor, is kidnapped to be sold into a sex-trafficking ring, the boys plan to rescue her, unaware of the dangers lying ahead. In this poignantly crafted story, Costelloe deftly layers rich details, such as how Scott has to deal with his father’s alcoholism and violent behaviour after his parents’ divorce and how Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and meditation help Scott deal with his own rage and aggression. Set in Malaysia in the early 1980s, the winding plot is jam-packed with twists that come at a relentless pace. Chapters alternate between Scott’s first-person perspective and audio tapes he records for his best friend in Palo Alto about his life in Malaysia, providing insight into his fears and insecurities along with his dreams, hopes, and longings. The drama builds to a surprising, satisfying ending. A solid, compelling YA thriller that beautifully explores violence, trauma, love, and friendship.


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