Book Review: Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn is a stand alone science fiction novel for young adult. I have read the Kitty Norville series from Vaughn, but it has been awhile, so I was not sure quite what to expect. I came in with pretty high hopes, which might have colored my reaction to what I found.

Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly's plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there's more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

Martians Abroad has a reasonable premise for a solid science fiction story for middle grade to young adult readers. Teenagers sent to a new world for a tough boarding school where they are bound to face the trials of fitting in, but some kind of adventure or danger in the process. That is all there, although not at the speed I would have liked. I found the start fairly slow, and Polly to be a bit of a brat. She acted more like a petulant ten year old than the teen she is supposed to be, and her brother Charles is pretty much a sociopath. I feel like neither really made an effort to fit in, both rather doing what they wanted. This goes especially for Polly, who I envision stomping her feet and pouting a lot. I also felt that there was not the underlying humor and fun that I seem to remember from the author's other work. I missed that.

Now that that is off my chest, lets talk about what I did like. I enjoyed the amount of world building that was included. Little things like Polly's build and gut bacteria having an impact on her comfort and ability to do things in a different environment. I also liked that while Polly is not my favorite character, she does have a selfless quality to her, and is always willing to jump in to help others. 

Martians Abroad was  a book I really wanted to love, but I kind of fell flat for me. I think part of this was because of my high expectations.
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