Technically, this is not a young adult book, but it falls into that rather large expanse of books that are written with adults as the target audience but which are enjoyed by teenagers as well, particularly since most of the book features a sixteen-year-old Kirk. With the new Star Trek movie coming out to rave reviews, I suspect that many people may feel motivated to track down other incarnations of a rebellious teenaged Kirk.
James T. Kirk is sixteen and a troublemaker. His innate leadership is strong, but he constantly misuses the trust and loyalty of his friends. Desperate to convince his son that responsibility and hard work are important qualities, George Kirk brings Jimmy along on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise, a mission intended to simply test out the top-secret vessel’s engines. But when a group of Star Fleet members takes a shuttle down to visit a plant, things start to go wrong. They are attacked by pirates, and must fight to save their own lives. Meanwhile, on the pirate ship one of the key pirates is a technological genius who is also a teenager. Parallels between James and the pirate are inevitable, and Jimmy can’t help seeing the differences between the brave and resourceful Star Fleet commanders and the whining self-centered pirates.
There is a fair amount of action in this book, as well as introspection. Although it differs significantly from the movie version of events (which, after all, take place in an alternate universe), it does feature a rebellious, and often sullen, Jimmy Kirk, and the ways in which his attitude is slowly changed. The book is framed with the adult Kirk being reminded of his youth by current events, allowing the author to end with information about how all of the main characters fared after the tumultuous events of the past.