Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Moments after Kady breaks up with her boyfriend, Ezra, their planet is invaded. Struggling to get to safety, Kady and Ezra (though at odds) must work together to survive the attack. Once the two successfully escape their planet on evacuation ships, more information about the attack starts to surface. The attacking corporation, Bio-Tech, unleashed a deadly virus onto the planet during its attack– one that is now incubating inside the humans aboard the evacuation ships. What’s more, the artificial intelligence on one of the ships may have become too powerful for its own good. Told through files, documents, concrete poetry, and images, Illuminae is the story of Kady, Ezra, and the AI, Aidan, during the harrowing escape from their home planet. Their three stories intertwine in surprising ways, all culminating in a raw, dramatic ending.

Wow, wow, wow! I am not a fan of space-fiction at all, so I had mixed feelings about trying this book. I only did because it has such a unique construction. Instead of reading paragraphs, you read transcripts, chats, poetry, and illustrations. Super cool and different. I have to be honest, the first 200 pages or so are a little slow, but push through! The action, twists, drama, and ending are totally worth it. Plus, I loved reading the character of the evil AI, Aidan. He’s the best/worst. Pick this one up if you’re looking for a new series to get sucked into.

*VOYA Perfect 10, 2015

*YALSA Best Fiction, 2016

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here. 


Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone


During the 1960’s space race, most of the nation focused on the bright, daring young men who would serve their country as astronauts. Less known were the thirteen women who, although they tested as well or better than their male counterparts, were refused entry into the elite space flight club. In this revealing historical piece, Stone examines the barriers women have faced in the science and engineering fields — barriers which exists purely because of perpetuated female stereotypes. Using engaging prose, historical documents, and photographs, the author sheds light on the extreme injustice the “Mercury 13” women were served, and the long battle women have faced attempting to break into scientific fields of employment.

This book was awesome! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a pretty strong feminist, so I really enjoyed reading about these women. I actually had no idea that women were trying to get into the space program as early as the 1960’s, and that those women were performing better than the men! It was also enlightening to see the reasons men gave for women to not be allowed in space: everything from “what about their children?”, to “the only purpose women could serve is to populate space colonies”. Their real talents were completely ignored, even though most of those women were skilled pilots. It was also interesting for me to compare the treatment of women in the book to treatment of women today. There were big differences, but some things were still horrifyingly the same. If you are at all interested in the space program, women’s rights, or astronauts, give this book a read. Whether you are a feminist or not, this book has a lot to offer.

Rating: 5/5

*YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, Finalist, 2010

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.