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A 2024 PEN/Hemingway Award Nominee
A 2023 Stonewall Award Nominee
YA, Sci-Fi, Superhero Action
Release date: September 12, 2023


The near future is progressively free from discrimination based on race, class, and sexual orientation. But in a world populated by the gifted, fifteen-year-old Alejandro Aragon (Alé) is part of the only remaining minority—he’s a Deficient. Powerless. The one that accelerated genetics left behind.

Alé knows that he’ll need a miracle to graduate and pursue his dream of a legal career in the capital. His only ally is his best friend Yalamba, an outspoken and exceptionally gifted artist renowned for her unique ability to draw things into existence. But when she’s kidnapped in a hate crime against her ability, it appears that Alé has every motive and no believable alibi.

To prove his innocence and track down the real culprit, Alé teams up with the other outcasts in school, who each have their own reasons for getting involved. But the deeper they dig, the more they fear Yalamba’s kidnapping is linked to a string of unsolved murders against the exceptionally gifted.

With time running out, Alé must discover who he really is if he and his new friends plan to track down the culprit, clear his name, and rescue Yalamba—all before she herself is drawn out of existence.

Media Kit - Deficient


“An attention-grabbing plot-driven story that tackles themes of belonging.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A clever premise skillfully executed. Solis creates a vivid, fantastical world populated by fully-drawn, relatable characters, and a compelling storyline that never flags. Deficient is a thoroughly entertaining read and an impressive first novel.” —Ross LaManna, Screenwriter (Rush Hour)

“a stunning debut. A compelling whodunit set against the backdrop of an immersive dystopian future [and] delivers a truly fresh twist on its genre—with page-turning results.” —C.S. Farrelly, author of The Shepherd’s Calculus

Deficient is a page-turner to be read while riding on a rollercoaster of emotions. A gripping tale from start to finish!” —Kael O’Phelan, Author of The Elemental Guardians series

Deficient takes us on a wild ride from the first page! Solis’ debut novel moves fast, providing twists and turns in every chapter. Through his characters and their interactions, Solis explores themes from adventure, to family tension, to love and relationships, crafting a compelling plot that readers of Ender’s Game and Gattaca will enjoy.” —Christine Galib, Author of Etched in Stone

“Michael Solis’s debut novel is equal parts intrigue, adventure and a heaping helping of heart. Deficient is a breezy novel that is easy to pick up, exciting to get into and impossible to put down…definitely on my top reads of the year.” —Matti McLean, Author of Nicky Faces Catastrophe… and Survives?!

Deficient is a superb debut novel and a great story of true friendship with strong and relatable characters. From the first few pages, I just wanted to keep reading more!” —Dija Ayodele, Author of Black Skin

“[Deficient] is a speculative novel about what the future could look like if humans were to evolve, from the perspective of an underdog who has been left behind. This page-turning adult novel is made for the screen.” —Trina Vargo, Author of Shenanigans

Deficient is a unique spin on superhero stories. I can see where Solis drew his inspiration from, having grown up in the shadow of the super-human world of professional wrestling. His book is about finding yourself, even when you feel powerless, and fighting for what you believe in. It’s a message everyone can relate to. The book is a must read.” —Kenny Casanova, Author of Don’t Call Me Chico