Jasmine Warga’s A Rover’s Story is a gorgeous combination of science and imagination that takes readers on a unique and engaging journey.
Resilience is a Mars rover built to do a certain job a certain way, at least according to the other Mars rover, Journey. But Resilience, or Res, sees the world differently than Journey, and he isn’t totally sure that’s a bad thing…but he’s also not totally sure, either way.
Warga’s books are known for their depth and lyricality, and A Rover’s Story fits into that lexicon perfectly. Though the narration style isn’t lyrical itself, as Res is a robot and so his narration style fits him perfectly, his perception of the world is lyrical. Res may be a robot, but his search for identity and belonging are universally relatable. Just like young readers (and, let’s be honest, adult readers, too!), Res must learn to trust and believe in himself.
Res isn’t alone, either. Though Res is our primary narrator, letters from a young girl are interspersed throughout the novel. Sophia is a student with unique ties to Res, and her letters offer a glimpse of how the world is viewing Res for the reader to contrast with how Res views his mission and himself. Other lovable characters include Journey, a satellite, the “hazmats,” scientists that designed and built the rovers, and Fly, a drone helicopter that accompanies Res to Mars.
I can’t believe I became so invested in a robot friendship, but the relationship between Fly and Res is so wonderfully portrayed that it’s impossible not to be invested in their fates. This wonderful portrayal of friendship is full of humanity and hope, which are at the heart of this book. This is my comfort every time I think about how much Warga made me cry over a robot friendship.
This novel is the perfect middle grade STEM book, combining relatable themes with science in an accessible and understandable way. This is the kind of book that can spark a love for space, or fan the flames for those readers who already dream of being amongst the stars. The author’s note on combining imagination and science is sure to inspire every reader, whether that’s to learn more about Mars and the rover program or to imagine what worlds they could dream up themselves.
A Rover’s Story is perfect for fans of WALL-E, as it has the same humor and heart but in a whole new story with lovable characters. It is overwhelmingly wonderful. I’m honestly having trouble putting into words the way this book made me feel.
That’s the heart of it, really. It makes you feel.
From the gorgeous setting descriptions to the heart-pounding plot, A Rover’s Story is one you don’t want to miss.
Thank you to Jasmine Warga, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Balzer & Bray, and NetGalley for an advanced e-copy such that I could share my honest opinions.