About the Book
Genre: Science fiction, YA
Word Count: 3,550
Plot: Craig is a teenage boy sent to a strange planet to help the inhabitants solve their genetic mutation problem in exchange for sanctuary while Earth dies. While there he attends school and takes a class trip to interesting caves called the Cothap Caves. On the trip, he notices a heat source coming from the ground and art on the walls that make him wonder if these caves are more than they appear.
Passive Writing but Great World Building
The writing is not the best. It's excessively passive and stilted with a few typos that could have been avoided. This story is a quick read, only about 20 pages, and not much happens. The characters were standard without anything unique about them. However, the world-building was well done. I enjoyed the descriptions of the planet, the schools, and the caves.
Overall, this story had a depressing feel, but Craig is in a depressing and lonely situation. The depressing mood did make it difficult to read at times. The ending was very intriguing, though, and that makes me interested in the other books in the series.
You can read the Cothap Caves on Smashwords for free.
If you love this book, similar ones you may want to read include K.A. Applegate's Remnants series, where the world is ending and a select set of humans need to leave. It also deals with the possible end of the Earth, and how the survivors adapt to their new planet. Plus it includes some mysterious details like the question of why the humans were pulled to that planet and what the locals might want with them.
The Green Book by Jill Patson Walsh also shows survivors from the end of Earth. This book is about a colony of humans who land on their new planet, as planned, but then find that the plants are all like glass and they might not be able to survive. While this doesn't deal with potentially hostile alien life, like in the Cothap Caves, it does describe the wonders of a new planet, like the wonders of the caves.
Another related series that I highly recommend is My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Colville. Here, the Earth isn't about to end. At least, that's what the humans believe. But aliens have arrived on Earth in secret and they're horrified about what they witness. The main characters have to convince the aliens that the Earth actually has the potential to be a good planet and sort itself out. If they cannot, then the Earth will be destroyed to prevent a future threat to the universe. While the majority of this series takes place on Earth, there is an end of the world possibility and the characters face discrimination for being human, like how Craig faced it in The Cothap Caves.