Book Review | A Rover’s Story (ARC)

I received an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.

In A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga, Resilience (Res for short) is a rover, who knows he was built to be logical above all else, so that he can gather data on Mars for the humans. But the more time he spends in the lab undergoing tests, the more he finds himself fond of the scientists and his fellow rover, Journey. He starts to wonder if there is something wrong with him for having emotions, but before he can come to a conclusion, he is sent off to Mars with a drone he names Fly. Once there, Resilience faces new challenges such as the weather and terrain, and he has to decide how far he is willing to go in the name of exploration, as well as what friendship truly means.

So… this novel is an absolute delight. That’s it, that’s the review.

Okay, fine, I’ll go on, because I have many compliments to express.

First of all, I love Resilience so much. He’s so endearing and curious and adorable! I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense that he has emotions, because it makes him relatable and complex; otherwise, he’d be extremely boring. But Warga does a great job giving him a personality. Even the other non-human characters who don’t feel as much as he does (if they feel at all) have layers and distinct voices. Fly is my favorite of the other robots, though—he’s such a cute, funny little guy.

As for the humans, they are also wonderful. I loved getting to know them through Resilience’s perspective. We have to piece together some things about them, because as smart as this rover is, he doesn’t know everything about people, but Warga clearly trusts her audience to understand what he doesn’t. I also think the touch of adding Sophie’s letters was brilliant. Sophie, being the daughter of one of the scientists who works with Resilience. She writes to the rover, as a sort of diary, and through that, we see the human side of the situation (literally). It’s an excellent second POV that helps the narrative along, giving more information and more emotion to the story. I loved her as a character, too.

The science isn’t too complicated, as Resilience doesn’t really have to perform intense calculations; rather, he’s sent to Mars with the same mission as other rovers: to explore and gather data. This makes this aspect of the story not too technical for young readers. That said, Mars still feels like such a palpable location through Res’ eyes. It’s by turns wondrous and dangerous, and I loved the scenes that took place here.

I think I could go on gushing about many other things in this book, but I don’t want to just ramble for too long, so I’ll wrap up now. So: in the end, A Rover’s Story was fantastic! The characters, the plot, the settings, everything was just so, so good. There’s some melancholy moments, and the story isn’t without risk or sacrifice, but it’s also incredibly wholesome and optimistic. This feels like The Martian for tweens, and I adored it.

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