Children of Jubilee by Margaret Peterson Haddix

children of jubileeSimon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018.

Refuge City is supposed to be just that—a refuge. But suddenly, the safe haven where Kiandra and Enu have lived since they were tiny has been taken over by Enforcers, and Rosa, Edwy, Zeba, Bobo, Cana, Enu, and Kiandra find themselves running for their lives. Not only that, but everyone expects twelve-year-old Kiandra to know what to do. Kiandra’s a tech genius and great at finding answers, but she’s definitely not used to having anyone depending on her. To Kiandra’s dismay, the others expect her to lead them even when the tech is taken out of the equation, and the stakes could not be higher.

Children of Jubilee is a cracking ending to the Children of Exile series which started with Children of Exile and moved on to Children of Refuge. Click the links to read my reviews of the previous books. Every book builds on the story through the eyes of a different main character, and yet the impeccable tension, pacing, and consideration of the human condition make a strong thread through all of the books.

I enjoyed—as will most middle grade readers, I think—the opportunity to learn about the worlds and cultures within the books and ponder the ethical questions that arose. Each main character, first Rosi, then Edwy, and finally Kiandra, is a hero to be revered who also gained my sympathy. The action kept me reading and the ethics kept me pondering. The questions of ethics are universal ones, and ones particularly suited to this series’ audience, I think. Each book could stand alone, but I think they’re especially satisfying read as a series.

I recommend this series as an addition to libraries, classrooms, and as gifts for middle grade readers who like a gripping, high-stakes, sci-fi tale.

I received a copy of Children of Jubilee in exchange for an honest review.

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Station Fosaan by Dee Garretson

Station FosaanMonth9Books, 2017.

The scientists recruited to go to Fosaan were promised a tropical paradise for their families to live in, but the truth is the planet smells of sulfur, the ocean is incredibly salty, and the jungle is full of incredibly dangerous animals. Still, Quinn’s not too bothered by those things, since there are so many cool animals to study and document. He’s curious about the native Fosaanians, too, but he’s never really had contact with them, that is, until he finds one stealing food from his kitchen. She’s beautiful and there’s so much she could tell him about her culture and the planet. Quinn’s glad to help her out by giving her food if it will encourage her to stick around and talk to him.

Unfortunately, there’s no time for the teens to get to know one another before the planet’s thrown into crisis. The scientists are all in orbit in the labs, the kids are alone on the planet, and communications are down. Something is very wrong and it’s going to be up to Quinn and his new friend to lead the way to a solution.

In Station Fosaan, Dee Garretson has given reader an engrossing book with appealing characters. They’re typical teens in a very atypical setting. Station Fosaan has enough potential romance to appeal to the romantically inclined and enough danger and action to appeal to the most seasoned gamer. Plus, for readers that like to stick with their favorite characters for a while, this is the first book in the Torch World series, so we haven’t seen the last of Quinn and Mira. Stay tuned!

Sparked by Sheena Snow

Product DetailsSoul Mate Publishing, 2015

The government’s been building robots in a secret program, and they look exactly like humans. They’d been building them for years before anyone outside the government found out. When the secret program was discovered, the leaders won public opinion over by offering robots up for sale to the public — who wouldn’t want a robot to do the cleaning and the gardening? But Vienna doesn’t trust them, not one bit. So when her mom brings a robot into the house to be their cook Vienna is horrified. But she soon learns there’s a lot more to robots than she imagined. That’s lucky for Vienna, because before too long one gorgeous specimen of a robot is the only thing that’s keeping her safe from the government that invented him.

I was intrigued by the premise of this story: humans and robots in society, a human-robot love story to boot. Sheena Snow has written an intriguing tale. Though Vienna is a teenager, this story reads more like an adult romance/adventure than a young adult novel. That’s not really a criticism; I simply found it surprising in a book that’s being marketed as YA. It’s an adventure and a love story, but it seems particularly unmarked by adolescent angst. It’s fairly violent but not sexually explicit.

I was drawn in and read this fast-paced book quickly. A couple of unanswered details niggled at me as I read, but I can be an  impatient reader and it may be that the author is saving the reveal for future books. Sparked is billed as the first book in the Metal Bones Series.

I read this book courtesy of the author and Kate Tilton in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

DNA Detective by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, Lil Crump

Annick Press, 2015.

A middle-grade nonfiction book, DNA Detective tells the fascinating story of how scientists unraveled the mystery of DNA over the years. The text moves chronologically and from scientist to scientist as they advance the theories of how humans, animals, plants, and cells are created. The story is presented in a way that is both clear and interesting.

With such a complex scientific topic, I expected to find this book either hard going or far too simplistic for middle graders, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Tanya Lloyd Kyi laid out the stories and the science in a very engaging and understandable manner. I think kids interested in science would be very interested to read this book.

My largest problem with the book was that once introduced, the scientists were called only by first names. I don’t blame the author or publisher for this–I think it is the current convention for children’s books–but this middle-aged reader had trouble keeping track of Charles and Gregor and would have had an easier time with Darwin and Mendel.

This book would make a great addition to classroom, school, and public libraries and a great gift for inquisitive kids.

I read DNA Detective as a digital advance reader copy courtesy of  Annick Press and NetGalley.