"Unearthed" by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
I received this as an advanced reader copy.... in 2018. Eek. My apologies to the authors. I don't read a lot of science fiction so this was a nice change from my usual reading. After the Earth has depleted many of its natural resources, a message is intercepted from an extinct alien race. The planet Gaia may hold secret technology that may help replenish Earth's resources. The news of these new technologies led many people to have the desire to study the new culture, but also the desire to scavenge the planet for profitable materials.
Like many books I enjoy, this is told through alternate perspectives- Amelia- a scavenger who is attempting to "buy back" her sister from her employers on Earth, and Jules- a scholar hoping to learn more about the mysterious messages sent by the Undying. There were parts of this book that were a little repetitive and predictable, but it was a new enough concept for me to like the story. I might be interested in reading the 2nd book.
I got this book from our former middle school librarian, who is a good friend of mine. It tells the story of Leela, a Brahmin girl who had been engaged at 2 and married at 9. Just before her anu, where she would leave her parents' home and go to live with her husband's family, her husband is bit by a snake and dies. The story tells of the customs of being a widow and how it affects Leela and her family in a time where society and culture was changing. I really knew nothing about a lot of these customs, or even about some differences between some of the castes in India, so this was engaging and thought provoking to me. There was a lot Hindi (? I think) words in the story, and a glossary at the end of the book that defines those words. This is a great book for people interested in other cultures or about how different generations see the same issue.