This is a new young-adult series based in the Star Trek timeline that was created for the 2009 movie. It focuses on the years that Kirk attends the Academy in San Francisco (i.e. before the main action of the movie).
This book is full of personality and energy, especially emanating from Kirk's character and a few others, which I felt were pretty close to the characters as portrayed in the movie. Still, parts were irritating, specifically the random use of 90's slang (I really cringed when Kirk said, "Yo, girl!"). Luckily it seems as the author hit his stride he dropped away from outdated (especially for the 23rd century!) slang, and I didn't notice it too much as I got to the meat of the story.
In this book there is a threat to the community of San Francisco itself, and as Kirk becomes inadvertently involved in that, his experience reflects his studies and struggles within the Academy itself, and they nicely reflect each other. While it seems like kind of a "Star Trek" thing to have multiple themes or story lines going on at once, I liked that they mirrored each other in this book.
One last thing that I liked was Kirk's character. Kirk, for all of his antics and sass, is still a good man and a good leader, which comes across but isn't overdone. I enjoyed watching his character progress: it seems like his success in this book stemmed from both his inherent personality as well as the events that transpired.
There are still some problems with this book. Some explanations are kind of weak, some of the characters are one-sided, and at times the most competitive and demanding school in the Federation seems like a big frat party. But remember: this is young-adult, Star Trek fan-fiction... which you really need to take into consideration before judging too harshly.
This is light and fun with lots of personality, but there were still some deeper things to appreciate. I liked it.