A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga is a unique science fiction book based on the Mars rovers currently on Mars. Told from the perspective of one of the Rover’s this story offers a fun look at what might happen if one of the rovers began to develop human feelings.
This wasn’t a traditional science fiction so it is a great one even for people who aren’t typically fans of this genre. I loved it enough to choose it for my Online Middle School Monthly Fiction Book Club in 2023.
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Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 320 pages
First Published: 2022
Publisher’s Description: A Rover’s Story
“Meet Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name.
Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop humanlike feelings. Maybe there’s a problem with his programming….
Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars’s difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration.
As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage, and resilience to succeed… and survive?”
My Goodreads Review
Resilience is a Mars rover that is determined to succeed in its mission. He wants to be the first Mars rover retrieved from Mars to return to Earth. Unfortunately, he begins to develop human emotions during his testing, and now he is afraid these emotions will prevent him from doing the best job possible. It isn’t long before Resilience finds himself on Mars trying to balance his desire for success with the desire to make logical decisions.
This book, A Rover’s Story, was such a surprising science fiction book for kids. Watching this rover develop and identify human emotions caused me to form an unexpected emotional attachment to him. I was cheering him on and desperately wanted him to return to earth.
The supporting characters who surround Resilance include a fantastic line-up of personalities, including a fellow Rover, a drone, a satellite, a young girl, and the two hazmats (humans) that bring him online. Each member of the supporting cast of characters teaches Resilience lessons about the world while bringing their unique personality to the story.
This story is told from Resilience’s point of view as a series of “stream-of-conscious” thoughts. Occasionally his entries are interrupted by letters to him from Sophie, a student and the daughter of the rover’s creator. While he never actually receives her letters, they serve the reader well to glean information outside of Res’s database.
This was a great book to discuss with my 8-10 and 11-13-year-old book clubs. Overall the kids liked it though some found it a little bit slow-paced for their enjoyment, especially in the older age group.
This is a fantastic book for middle-grade readers, even those who aren’t typically fans of science fiction because this isn’t your typical science fiction story.
My Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
A Rover’s Story: Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study
1. This book is a science fiction story. Look up the elements of science fiction. Which are included in this story? Are there any that aren’t?
2. This story is written in a first-person format that feels like reading a journal even though there are no dates. Did you enjoy this format? What did the letters from Sophie contribute to the story?
3. It’s very clear that Res is developing emotions that his sister rover Journey is not. She believes these emotions will make for poor decisions, what do you think? Did Res’ emotions help or hinder his decision-making processes?
Homeschooling With Books: Discussion Questions To Help You Get Started
Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate a great discussion about any book with your kids:
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