Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: Harper Teen
There are three stories in this book: Adri, the young engineer who is carefully selected to go with a recolonization group to Mars; Catherine, who endures dust storms and hardships in the Kansas Dust Bowl; and Lenore, a young woman living in England in the aftermath of World War I. While Adri is training in Kansas with the US Space Program, she is assigned to live with a distant cousin, Lily. Adri discovers an old diary and letters containing Catherine's and Lenore's stories. She's unsure why she's so captivated by these stories, but they seem to change the way she looks at Lily and at her impending mission to leave her home behind forever. After searching all over the small town of Canaan, Kansas, she finds more letters from both Catherine and Lenore and is able to piece together her complicated but inspiring family story before she sets off on her adventure to Mars.
This book is an amazing blend of science fiction and historical fiction. Adri's timeline takes place in 2065 in Canaan and Wichita, Catherine's takes place in 1934 in Kansas and New York City, and Lenore's takes place in 1920 in England. The futuristic world of America raises interesting questions for the reader, while the historical sections offer glimpses into past versions of the Western world. Even though their stories take place over 145 years, each has to deal with the meaning of home, family, and journeys. All of the stories are captivating, and the blend of genres and formats of narrative/diary/letters is intriguing and works well to show similar themes across time and space. This is a must-read for fans of both historical and science fiction, since it borrows the best of both genres and combines it to make one inspiring storyline.
* Contains mild language and mild sexual content.