Review: Planet Earth is Blue

planet-earth-blueBook: Planet Earth is Blue (2019)
Author: Nicole Panteleakos
Genre: MG, Near Historical [1986]
Rating: 4.5 stars

Basic plot: Nova is autistic and pretty much nonverbal. She loves all things “space” and is excited about the upcoming launch of the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle. She knows that older sister Bridget promised to watch it with her, and Bridget is the one person in Nova’s world that is always there for her.

WHAT’S COOL…

1) So, I love near historical novels… Not surprised that this one (that takes place in 1986) interested me. Of course, knowing that this book is centered around the Challenger was bittersweet. I loved how the author was able to incorporate that into the story. (One of the scenes that takes place prior to the launch is the incident where Nova is playing with her toy astronauts in the attic.)

2) The relationship between Nova and her sister Bridget is told mostly from Nova’s “letters” to Bridget. This is a very clever way to give us Nova’s thoughts when she rarely speaks in the story. It was also a great way to get to know (and love) Bridget the way Nova knew (and loved) her.

3) I loved Nova’s foster family. (The one she’s with, not the ones from her past.) It’s nice to see a family that knows how to work with Nova and accept her for a person. Both parents are great, and so is Joanie the college-aged daughter.

4) All the pop-culture references were spot on with their thematic significance, even ones that don’t seem to be at first. (I’m looking at you, Bridge to Terabithia poster!) I wasn’t too familiar with David Bowie’s song Space Oddity (which is quoted from extensively in the book, even lending a lyric to the title of the book!), but the other references were fun throwbacks to childhood in the 1980s.

5) I do like the cover. Nicely done. 🙂

WHAT’S NOT COOL…

1) I did NOT like how she did the Neil Armstrong quote in the book: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” In 1986, we did NOT use the word “a”, and nobody I knew ever made fun of Armstrong for saying it that way. Of course, it does make more sense with the “a”, but if we want to be historical, Nova would not have known the quote with the “a”. That really, truly bothered me!!!! (Okay, I’m calm again. Rant over.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

My rating is 4.5 Stars (out of 5) – I know it’s written for kids, but this is the type of book that may be more interesting to the adult reader. That said, I really did enjoy it. It does have some sadness in it, so be warned (but if you know what happens to the Challenger, you should already know that).


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

9 thoughts on “Review: Planet Earth is Blue

  1. I enjoyed your review! I’ve read and reviewed the book and I always enjoy to hear other perspectives. The ending caught me off guard — but others said it was predictable! Anyway, I love seeing books like this one given a little more book love! Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Re: the ending. I wasn’t surprised at the ending, but I was definitely reading with eyes to the theme of the book, especially with what happened to the Challenger. But that didn’t make the ending bad, in my opinion. I really liked it.

      I agree about giving books like this a little more love!

      Happy New Year!

      Like

  2. Pingback: My Top Ten Reads… from 2019 | Of Maria Antonia

  3. Interesting that you referred to this a near historical. I was at a conference eight or ten years ago, and an editor was talking about historical fiction. She said, “And, believe me, the 1990s are historical.” I guess it’s all about perspective. Thanks for telling me about this book. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also find it a little hard to think of the 1980s and 1990s as historical, but (especially for today’s kids) it really is. Life was different back then, wasn’t it?

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      Like

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