Monday, November 5, 2018

One Old, One New: What Goes Up

One Old, One New features two books - one old, one new, which are connected in some way. Today, I am sharing two books titled What Goes Up, which also both happen to feature NASA in some way.

What Goes Up
Wen Jane Baragrey
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Middle Grades, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
What goes up . . . comes down on Robyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow's roof! Will a rogue NASA satellite crush her house before Robyn can set things right?

Robyn Tinkerbell Goodfellow (yes, that's actually her name) has a target on her roof. Well, not a real one, but everything seems to land there: paper airplanes, lost kites, socks, cats, and once even a skydiver! In the town of Calliope, Robyn and her magnet roof are famous--for being weird. That wasn't such a big deal . . . until now!

A rogue NASA satellite is falling out of orbit and is going to hit Earth. NASA says it will probably land in the ocean, but Robyn knows better--that satellite is headed for her roof. To make matters worse, Robyn discovers that she doesn't just have a fairy middle name. When her class reads A Midsummer Night's Dream, she learns that Robin Goodfellow is a fairy! Which means if the satellite flattens her, everyone will laugh at her name in the news stories. Robyn realizes what she needs to do: find her long-lost dad so he can help her change her name and protect her from the satellite!

Both surprising and relatable, this middle-grade novel will have readers wishing they could move to the small town of Calliope, laugh with the larger-than-life characters, and race against the clock to save Robyn from NASA's mistake.
Robyn lived in a house, which she claimed had a "magnetic roof". For some reason, projectiles had a tendency to take up residence on her rooftop. Therefore, when she learned of the NASA satellite's return to Earth, she was worried it would also be attracted to her roof and most likely destroy her home. This news, along with seeing a local family filled with people who looked like her, who also had albinism, spurred Robyn to search for the father she never knew.

Robyn was such a fabulous character. It was instalove for me. I loved her voice, and the way she navigated her emotions, as well as the feelings of others. There were a few times, where she put her own interests before other people's, but she would back up, recognize it, and correct herself. I liked seeing that in an almost-12-year-old. Robyn was also determined and tenacious, and I loved her go-get-em attitude. Her need to know more about her father was never more clear, than when Robyn compared how she looked like she doesn't belong in her family, and how "other" she always felt. I know I wanted her to get some answers, because I grew to adore and care for her very much.

Robyn was really lucky to have an awesome best friend (future-husband) named Nickel. Yes, his whole family was named after coins, but that didn't hamper him from supporting Robyn when she needed him most. There were actually a few really, really heartwarming moments shared between the two. One was this heart-to-heart he had with Robyn in the later part of the book, that made me shed some really happy tears, because it was such a precious exchange, and clearly illustrated how much her friendship meant to him.

Not only did Baragrey gift Robyn with Nickel in her life, she packed the town with some fun and eccentric characters. Robyn's mom was obsessed with faeries, and even managed to make a career of it, while her grandmother carried on a friendly-ish feud with the nosy and delusional neighbor. Many other interesting denizens rounded out the cast, and it was a pleasure getting to meet them all.

Overall: A touching and heartwarming story about family, friendship, and belonging, which will make you laugh, cheer, and smile.

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

What Goes Up
Katie Kennedy
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Action-packed and wildly funny, this near-future sci-fi features three teens on an inter-dimensional mission to save the world.

Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they'll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that's out of this world.
What if there was a another Earth out there, where another you lived? That was the idea behind the fictional Multi-World Agency, and they were looking for the best and the brightest to become Team 3 at the agency.   This search brought all the top teens in the nation to Iowa, where they had to battle for a spot on the team, and remain to prepare for future missions. However, with the arrival of an alien spacecraft, that mission may have come sooner than expected.

This was a really fun adventure! I found myself so engrossed by the testing portion in the beginning of the book. The challenges were really interesting and some, quite unique. The process of elimination was enthralling, but I also liked the way Kennedy took us into the minds of the recruits, and gave us a better understanding of all the reasoning and emotions involved.

The story was not only fun, it was funny. The characters often used humor and exchanged snappy and snarky banter, which kept a smile on my face. Keep an eye out for Eddie's knock-knock jokes. They were super corny, but I love the motivation behind them.

There was a third F that was a standout for me too - friendship. I guess when you are thrown into a life or death situation, you will often form bonds with those, who are there with you, but the friendship formed by Team 3 was deeper. You saw it in the little things and the big things. In the things they were willing to do and the things they were willing to risk. Examples of that were all over this book, and not only the idea of friendship, but also the idea teamwork. I love the focus on these things, and all the ways Kennedy incorporated them into this tale.

There were lots of great characters in this book, but the stars were Eddie and Rosa for me. I instantly loved them both, but for different reasons.

Eddie seemed like the outsider, like he didn't belong among this elite group. He was well equipped for each challenge, however, the shadow of his past hung over him. Eddie had a backstory, that will hit you in the feels. I loved that he achieved so much despite his past, and I was rooting for him the whole time. He wanted this. He needed this, and I needed this for him.

Rosa grew up with the scientific elite, but she always felt like she had to prove herself, because of her pedigree. It was fantastic seeing her and Eddie, people from such different circumstances, come together and become a dynamic duo. But the beauty of these two characters was not in how brilliant they were, but rather, how they suffered from the same issues as other teens: fear of failure, loneliness, the need to belong. These things gave the characters more depth, and in my opinion, made them more interesting and relatable.

As a former physics teacher, my colleagues and I always lamented how high school physics ends with discoveries from the 1930s. Therefore, I was excited to see more modern ideas, like the Many Worlds Theory, mentioned in this book. A dissertation on the theory would not be appropriate, but maybe one teen will read this story and want to learn more. You never know.

Overall: A fantastic and often-times, thrilling adventure filled with friendship, witty banter, and out of this world fun.
Do you like books with space stuff in them?
Let us know in the comments!

24 comments:

  1. These both sound so interesting. I don't read a lot of books with space stuff in them but doesn't mean I don't want to. Especially the sound the first one I'll have to check it out. Great reviews!

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    1. The first one has very little space/science, but it's such a sweet and endearing story of family and belonging. I really enjoyed it.

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  2. I love space! Both of these books sound good, especially the first one. I want to read a lot of middlegrade next year because I’ve been slacking on reading it this year.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I have compiled a huge list of MG I want to get from the library. MG books never fail to warm my heart and make me smile.

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  3. I have both of these on my TBR. I'm finding more and more family stories in middle grade and loving them.

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    1. I always love a focus on family or even families we choose, but MG always leave me with warm fuzzies.

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  4. How fun to find two books with the same title! The only pair I can think of is Resistance, which is both a WWII graphic novel and Jennifer A. Neilsen's latest historical novel.

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    1. I had won the Katie Kennedy book, and when I got the other book from Netgalley, I realized they had the same title. I know I have seen other books with similar titles, but they were more generic (pretty sure they were romances). It as a fun way to kick off my new feature.

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  5. These both sound like such fun reads. I could really see my son getting into the second book.

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    1. Kennedy's book was great, and was action packed. It's not too mature either.

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  6. I think it is great that you found two books with the same title that had a bit of a connection. I think the characters in both books sound wonderful. Glad you enjoyed these!

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    1. I have been wanting to read more old books, so one old and one new seemed like a good way to do it, and I like the idea of the books being connected in some way too. It's fun trying to find the matches for the feature.

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  7. I have the second What Comes Up, or rather, my daughter has it because she stole it from me because she liked the cover hah. So, I am glad to hear it is fun, because she will inevitably have me read it to her one of these days! Actually, they both sound really fun, I will have to look into getting her the first one too (partly because I like the cover, in this case, that's legit right?) Great reviews, glad these were enjoyable!

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    1. One of the reasons I picked Baragrey's book was because the cover. It's awesome, and when you read the book, you see all that stuff actually came from the book. I really enjoyed Kennedy's book. I am going to circle back and read her debut, which got a lot of raves.

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  8. This sounds very interesting and fun especially to my godson! He love anything Nasa so I’m very grateful for this post. I’ll make sure he gets these soon. Thanks so much, Sam

    Hope you have a lovely week ahead. đź’‹ xoxo
    Helena @ The Life of a Booknerd Addict recently posted:
    Our October wrap-up, from The Life of a Booknerd Addict!

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    1. Both were great. Kennedy's book has more science, and even just the small amount of the multiverse had me on the hook.

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  9. I like this feature. Thsherry @ fundinmental anks for sharing.

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    1. Glad you like it. I have been wanting to do more backlist, but still keep up with new books.

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  10. Interesting that books with the same title have something similar going on (beyond the title). The middle grade one sounds so cute! :)

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    1. When I first matched these two, it was on title alone. I had won the Kennedy book through a giveaway and I an ARC of the other, but then I realized they had a little NASA connection, so that was a fun plus for me. Both were really fun, and the MG book was so cute and sweet. I love those family feel good stories, though, the tears were flowing at the end of Kennedy's book too, because she gave Eddie this really beautiful ending.

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  11. I usually just stick to sci-fi when I want my space-y kind of reads but I like the sound of these two too. Oh man, it cracked me up that Nickel's family are all named after coins in some way xD Imagine that in real life! Sounds like these were both good reads :)

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    1. The only kind of scifi that works for me is like scifi-lite -- space opera, or books with just a few scifi elements like the Mindjack series or Pivot Point books. You would think, as a science geek, I would like it more, but I don't.

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  12. Wow, you'd think there wouldn't be all that many books out with the same title. These both sounds really interesting, that MG one sounds adorable. Not gonna lie. The second one sounds a bit more serious and sciencey and it's awesome that it's exploring more modern scientific ideas that you just don't get taught at school (to be fair, I learnt very little in my physics lessons so any kind of education would be good on that subject).

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    1. Both touch upon serious topics, but with a light touch. There was some science in Kennedy's book, but again, it's with a light touch. MG books just seem to always take an approach, that touches my heart. I don't know what it is, but they never fail to cause a feelsplosion in me.

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