Remember that dream we had as kids of becoming whatever we wanted to be? I remember kids saying stuff from police officers all the way to become mermaids. I also remember the small group of kids that wanted to be astronauts. They talked about spaceships and the stars and you could feel the awe they have towards space. Even I wanted to start staring up at the sky at night and catch glimpses of stuff happening up there.
The idea of going to such a far away place and it seeming so magical seems to capture the hearts of a bunch of kids out there. The billions of stars and planets that are stretched across the universe is an amazing concept. Truly a difficult thing to even process on some scales. It has an otherworldly feeling. Rob Dircks understands this fascination we tend to have with this and puts the need of seeing places yet to be found and getting away in his book You’re Going To Mars!.
What is it about?
You’re Going to Mars! is about a young girl named Paper who lives in the year 2085. Her father, grandmother, and her sisters Rock and Scissor live in Fill City One. Paper works a Filler, someone who goes into the yards and find the old stuff people have tossed out and turns it into the shops to be fixed up and resold. It is a hard job and doesn’t pay much, but what else are you going to do since you are stuck in Fill City? Even with the constant rough work and little possibilities of escaping, Paper has a dream of going to mars and believes it with all of her heart that she will get there one day.
When a world wide reality TV game show, hosted by Zach Larson, starts up Paper is determined to get on it. Why? The winner of the show gets to travel to Mars and be a part of the first manned mission to the beautiful red planet. However, to win is simpler said then done. Paper has to first find a winning Red Scarab. Then she has to find a way out of Fill City, leaving her family behind, and make it to the arena’s doors before they start the competition. And finally, survive the three months of a difficult competition and defeat 25 other contestants who all wanting the same thing.
Paper just has to remember that even though her dream seems unachievable, those who stick with whatever they want can reach anything they put their minds too. So let the game being and may the best player reach the stars and see Mars!
I was a bit hesitant on reading this book at first. I don’t typically pick up books that fall more towards the sci-fi and space related topics. However, the idea of being able to travel to a planet such as mars was quite intriguing. Mars tends to be one of the planets we discuss a fair amount. Mars has had a lot of research done to it thanks to both robots on the planet’s surface and scientists studying from a far. It also helps that it is fairly close to us considering the other planets in the Solar System. But I never really thought about Mars being this cool and amazing planet that any one would really want to go to and visit. So when I read the title, I was a bit taken back at the fact an author would choose that planet to write about and make a dream for a character.
Another thing that caught my eye was the whole game show aspect. You can find so many book similar to Hunger Games, where you have a competition but so many people have to die and suffer. There seems to be more bloodshed than actual competitions between the contestants. This competition is more like Willy Wonk’s chocolate race and the TV show Survivor met up and made a show. It would be listed as family focused but would show with a warning showing on occasion that viewer discretion is advised for this episode. Especially for some of the competitions that they players have to face. I really liked this approach to the Race for Reward type storyline. You weren’t wincing every little step from someone getting physically damaged or bleeding out, but actually being able to read through the story easily.
Overall, I did enjoy this book, but I did feel like it was a bit rushed towards the end. The beginning of the book started off at a good speed. You were able to get a Paper’s background and character development. We follow along with her struggles of getting to the competition and what she has to face in order to make that a possibility. Then you have the entire competition itself and the deep and personal effects it has on our character. Paper’ story becomes quite involved for the reader. And then with the last third of the book it seemed like the entire store was sped up and rushed. The author probably could have stretched some things out or given some more information to other parts that seemed a bit too short and not given enough time.
And then the hardest bit for me to read was, what I considered a cheap toss in, was the supposed romance in the book. The romance that happens in the book seems to be a bit random and really doesn’t have enough character development for the love interest to develop into anything. I did get a little mad at how that entire thing happened and the complete acceptance the characters had towards it. But I won’t say any more on that front. I don’t want to spoil the book’s secrets to you all!