- File Size: 5733 KB
- Print Length: 451 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1524713538
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017)
- Publication Date: October 3, 2017
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01N13THM8
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,935 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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I did come to care about the people in it. The earlier part of the book was better than the end, where movie-like magic solutions and heroism came fast and furious, in a way that did not feel realistic for the world that was set up in the first half. It was interesting the way things in our world now were brought into the story, showing some possible developments that might happen. I liked the fact that it was made clear that gender issues were more relaxed in this future time, and that women were presented as smart, strong, capable people (why does that have to be noted as unusual? Afraid it still does.) The entire book was written in "text speak" with missing punctuation, etc., which I think makes reading it more laborious and I do not see the benefit of doing this for the story or for young adult readers who need to be able to use English correctly. I could have seen that if it was only used in screen communications, but to have the whole book written in it does not seem a good idea. I was disappointed in the ending, which I will not spoil, because most of the book was so enjoyable to read - with interesting metaphors between space elements and human psychology, etc.
It seemed as if at the end a Hollywood screenwriter was brought in who tied up the actual literate author and then proceeded to tie up the story with unbelievable events that must be taken with a meteor of salt. Worth reading, but could have been so much better.
I loved this book and yet, almost didn't finish it. I'd give it 4 stars for plot and premise, but 1.5 stars for the way it is presented. written in text speak it is hard 2 read, w/little punctuation and no capitals, c? I don't think many of my students write this way even in their own texts. I showed it to several of them and they said that it would drive them crazy--seems they do prefer correct grammar, even if they don't write it themselves. For me it seemed to emphasis the immaturity of Leo, and his isolation from society, which was very evident in the plot.
here, we're more like ghosts in the attic. & everything is white or black or silver. (chap 3)
everything closed, everything waiting except me, i realize suddenly. i'm not closed i'm open. & it's going to get me hurt, so i flush my air lock suck all the hope out of myself until i'm a vacuum inside, no feelings, & then i'm ready for my mother. (chap 7)
Top international reviews
I really liked the writing style, and I can see how this will appeal to younger people where text speech is common among that age group.
As the teenagers approach their 16th birthdays, the Company (an amalgamation of NASA, the Indian space agency and private space interests) announces that it’s going to bring them back to Earth for the first time. Leo’s mum and another astronaut, Flight Officer Brown, are launch as part of a planned mission to resupply the station and the plan is for the kids to go with them when they return to Earth. Leo’s excited at the prospect of finally meeting his grandfather (a famous astronaut and one of the last men to visit the moon who’s retired to his own cattle ranch) but he has to survive the journey back first and that’s not looking likely when something goes drastically wrong with his mother’s mission …
Nick Lake’s YA SF novel is like GRAVITY meets AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH as the story basically hinges on Leo’s experiences in having to adjust both to gravity and to life with his mother and grandfather for the first time but while the science research is great, the use of a text speak-style narration will alienate some while I felt that some of the plot was a little underdeveloped so while it’s an interesting read, I don’t think it’s a classic.
Lake does well in showing Leo’s life in the space station, both in terms of the science and the practicalities of living up there and the psychological effects on him as he deals with the remote relationship with his mother (whose coldness is explained away as her being on the autistic spectrum – which I thought was a bit of a cop out) and his friendship with Orion and Libra (which I wish I’d seen more of in the Earth sections as it falls by the wayside for a while for plot reasons). I enjoyed his reaction to life on Earth, particularly the scenes between him and his grandfather as they really start to get to know each other for the first time without a screen between them.
However the plot meanders somewhat and the introduction of a potential conspiracy element (later abandoned) wasn’t particularly fulfilling in part because Lake doesn’t go to great lengths in his world building – hinting at a planet in crisis due to overpopulation and climate change but not tying this into why campaigners would want to speak to (let alone go to extreme measures to meet) Leo. I actually thought at one point that the events that dog the mission to recover the teenagers were going to be part of a wider conspiracy and was a little disappointed that it wasn’t. This disappointment was made worse by the events of the last quarter, which I felt jumped the shark a little and avoided some obvious questions and practicalities, with some of the events making me roll my eyes at times.
Mention should be made of Leo’s narrative style, which does use text-speak devices. I found this a little difficult to get into but once I did I thought it worked well in the context as it fit his character well and I could believe in language developing in this way over the next few decades but I can equally see that it could alienate some readers and so if this is an issue for you, bear it in mind when picking up this book.
Ultimately, Lake’s research on space and the science of survival within it kept me turning the pages of this book and is why I think it’s worth a look but it’s not a perfect SF novel by any means and in some ways, I think it’s going to be one of those YA novels that’ll be an acquired taste.
In addition, the author manages to spin a story that offers a near-perfect balance of excitement, humour and pathos, making it an engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end. Other reviewers have highlighted the non-standard spelling and absence of capitalisation frequently adopted throughout the book which can make for awkward reading of some passages. To my mind, however, this is part and parcel of the realism that makes the book so special, adding to the overall believability of the storyline and helping to make Leo's voice so distinctive and unique. It really should not put anyone off reading the book; I suspect that younger readers in particular will barely notice it.
Whole heartedly recommended.
It is a complete and self contained story in one volume, and not part of any series or trilogy.
It runs for four hundred and sixty pages. It's divided into three parts. And further into various short chapters. Some of these are no more than a page. Even the longest are no more than seven or eight.
This is the story of Leo. Who narrates in first person present tense. He was born in space. And has lived on the space station where this happened his whole life so far. Along with a pair of twins called Orion and Libra. He keeps in regular contact by video link with his grandfather. And gets occasional visits from his mother. Who is not the most emotional of people.
But now he's getting what he's always wanted. A chance to visit Earth. He's seen the Earth from above. He's watched and read so much about it. Now he will get to see it for himself at last.
If he can survive some initial difficulties in space, that is. And a few surprises that await him on the ground...
This is written in a phonetic style. With hardly any capital letters. The word you is shown as u. And numbers as actual numbers rather than the words for them . At a glance this style might put people off. But those prepared to give it a chance will find you do quickly get used to it, and it does become a very readable book regardless.
It's easy to get into, although the first part is mostly scene setting and set up. It doesn't have a lot of world building to do, but it does set the scene well. Does the science right. And has some good space based scenes. Since the writing has to describe emotional moments first hand, that takes a while to get used to. But the narrative does keep you going.
Part two though is where this turns from a good book to a superb one, as the emotional moments do start to click here. It also does some excellent plot set up. Which pays dividends late in this part and in part three. From this point on this is a superb read. You are really invested in the characters by now, and that plus the narrative drives you along. And the emotional moments really do give you a strong emotional kick.
It comes to a head in part three with a good strong ending, and you won't forget any of it in a hurry,
Give the style a chance. And give this a chance whether you're fifteen or older. Because this is a superb read.
I was hooked from the start. Three characters to care for: Orion the aesthete, music his passion; twin Libra the botanist, able to make anything grow; Leo, the technician, taking in his stride all the complexities of Moon 2. He narrates, his enthusiam infectious.
Once on Earth, we are mainly with Leo, sharing his highs and lows as he joins life on his Grandpa's range. Seen through his eyes, we are all the better to appreciate what has hitherto been taken for granted - sky, trees, grass amongst so much that for Leo is a source of wonder.
Sadly all is not as it seems. Great challenges lie ahead, the three striving to come to terms in different ways....
This is a life-affirming tale about belonging, about where one's destiny lies and what truly represents home. Prepare for a gamut of emotions - several sequences almost unbearably moving.
Nick Lake has created a work full of images that will linger. Full credit to him too for accepting language evolves! Here it has done so convincingly. Some may take time to adapt to the lower casing and abbreviations. No problem surely for the intended teen readers, with texting so much a feature in their lives.
Admittedly, events in final chapters stretch credibility. Once I would have been listing the contrivances. Not this time. I was content simply to be swept along as Leo tried to realize his great dream. Will he succeed? Great is the hope.
Welcome here a novel far more involving than many might expect.
Try it. Just u c.
Mixing a lot of real science (I read a news story on a roughly related subject earlier today!) with sci-fi drama, this was an interesting and exciting read. The writing style is unusual and while I understand the reason for it (apparently it's NASA-speak, 'u' instead of 'you', 'c' for 'see' etc, to save bandwidth in their communications), I must say I found it quite jarring and didn't like it very much, finding it very distracting for the first few chapters. This aside, however, it was a very good story, and I enjoyed it.
This is an interesting premise for a book, and I liked the characters and enjoyed the story. However, it is longer than it needs to be, and Leo's observations of life in space and on Earth can feel a bit long-winded and overblown at times. There isn't as much plot or excitement as might be expected in a book of this length, and it feels a bit saggy at times. It's worth sticking with though, as it's a rewarding read in the end.
I read it in a very short term and really wanted to know what would happen to Leo and he stayed with me after the last page was turned - always the sign of a good book to me. I think this is suitable for secondary school age children - there's a few hints at awakening feelings but nothing too full on! I enjoyed it as an adult and was surprised how much I liked it. I really recommend this book.
It is wonderful how the author captures their emotions and what is for them firsts, experiencing interaction with animals, plants, fire and so on when they get to Earth.
I can understand a little how it has been compared to being "The Martian" for teens, but in other ways, I disagree with this, as "The Martian" was more about one mans survival on a foreign planet than it was about his discovering it and exploring as such, as is in this novel.
It is a wonderful read and you can easily read it from start to finish. I recommend it for readers from age 12 to adult.