Ugh. The biggest book of the possible Trumans for 2020-2021 school year. Of course, it was a science fiction book. Gag. Sorry, it’s just not my favorite genre. I just can’t get into the space stuff. And spacecrafts and jargon I don’t understand.
This was going to be torture. I picked it up the week before Christmas break and read the first chapter. I told my co-teacher, that the first chapter reminded me of the beginning of Hunger Games, when Katniss is out hunting for her family. That’s basically how this book starts, with the main character, Spensa, out hunting rats.
I put it down over Christmas break to knock out three smaller books from the list since the voting was quickly approaching. I picked it back up on New Years.
And something crazy happened. I found myself enjoying science fiction. I never wanted to put it down, but, you know, work, family, basketball coaching; I had to put it down.
Spensa is an interesting character. Her father has been label a coward due to actions as a fighter pilot in the Battle of Alta, and we quickly learn that this label attaches to Spensa as well. All she has ever wanted is to be a pilot, and shockingly she gets her chance.
I was captivated by this book and was reading it during SSR (silent, self-selected reading) at school when one of my most liked characters died. I slammed the book shut, and scared a few of my students. I told them I didn’t want to read it anymore. Surprisingly, the students who struggle with reading were the ones who encouraged me to keep going. (I was never going to quit it, but it was nice to be encouraged to read.)
I am not going to give away any spoilers. Just know that this is the first book in a series, so if you like it as much as I do, you’re dedicating yourself to multiple books.
My favorite part of this book is a character that you may not suspect. This character gave a LOT of comic relief in a book with a lot of sadness and frustration with a society that seemed to be fighting a losing battle.
I definitely recommend this book for anyone who likes dystopian novels. That’s what it felt like to me. Also, while you can sense there may be a budding relationship, there isn’t a ridiculous romance that happens.
Voting ends tomorrow for the Trumans. I ended up only missing one: The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. If it makes the top 12, I’ll read it, but I am welcoming the break from YA books…at least until the list of 50 comes out for the 2021-22 school year this May.