A young, ambitious female astronaut's life is upended by a fiery love affair that threatens the rescue of a lost crew in this brilliantly imagined novel in the tradition of Station Eleven and The Martian.
June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Younger by two years than her classmates at the Peter Reed School for Space Preparation, she flourishes in her classes but struggles to make friends and find true intellectual peers. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station—and a hard-won sense of belonging—but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle's fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.
She seeks out James, her uncle's former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry's fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell's fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they've worked so hard to create—and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.
Both a gripping narrative of one woman’s persistence and a charged love story, In the Quick is an exploration of the strengths and limits of human ability in the face of hardship, and the costs of human ingenuity.