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Review: Satellite by Nick Lake

Title: Satellite
Author: Nick Lake
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Format: E-ARC via Netgalley
Publication Date: 5th October 2017
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Description

A teenage boy born in space makes his first trip to Earth.

He’s going to a place he’s never been before: home.

Moon 2 is a space station that orbits approximately 250 miles above Earth. It travels 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every ninety minutes. It’s also the only home that fifteen-year-old Leo and two other teens have ever known.

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds.

Disclaimer

This book was kindly provided to me for honest review by the Publisher via Netgalley. This has not impacted on the content of this review, which it my own honest opinion of the book.

Review

Satellite is a very unique, character driven novel set in the near future. Through out the story we follow Leo, a teen-aged boy who was born in space, and has lived his life on Moon 2 orbiting Earth. It’s a really interesting idea, and it is carried out really well. I like all the science that is mentioned, it makes the situations feel more realistic and helps to highlight the seriousness of all the potential complications of life in space.

The first thing that I need to talk about it the interesting writing style. It took me a little while to adjust to the writing style in Satellite. It’s written in a way that could be compared to a sort of text speak, u in place of you, c in place of see and so on, and only names are capitalised. It took a little adjusting to, especially where the beginning of a sentence wasn’t capitalised, although this could have been more of an issue for me as a dyslexic reader. Having said that I did adjust, eventually it felt like a key part of Leo’s voice, and was able to immerse myself in the story.

Leo was a really interesting main character, with a distinctive voice. I liked that he has such a strong interest in space, which made the story that bit more interesting for me. I also really liked seeing his relationships with the other characters. Obviously he has had an unusual life, he was raised by rotating teams of astronauts alongside Orion and Libra, twins who were also born in space a few months before Leo. Orion and Libra are like brother and sister to Leo, and each have very different interests. I liked seeing them list the things that they most wanted to do when they got to Earth. It really reminded me of all the things that they had never experienced, living their lives on a Space station.

I found the relationship between Leo and his mother to be particularly interesting. While he see’s his mother every so often, she is one of the astronauts who works on the space station intermittently, their relationship is strained. Leo’s mother isn’t traditionally maternal or affectionate. She doesn’t know how to act around him which Leo finds hurtful and confusing. Seeing their relationship slowly develop, aided by Leo’s Grandfather, was really touching.

The world building in this book is very subtle, and gradual. As a reader, we learn about society through Leo’s encounters. In this future for example it is seen as completely normal for men to wear make up, and it’s only mentioned in passing. There is quite a bit of diversity in this novel. The space program itself is very multicultural, and Leo himself is gay and a person of colour, and has crushes on a couple of boys throughout the book. There is no racism or homophobia that I can remember anywhere in this book, and as a whole, at least as far as Leo experiences, society is more accepting. The only downside to experiencing the world through Leo is that his view is limited. He is very sheltered from the wider world, for his own protection. I would have been interested to see more of what was going on in the wider world, especially the global warming and water shortages that are mentioned, and how they are effecting people.

Satellite really makes you think about what you might take for granted. Because Leo has spent all his life in space, he has never experienced gravity, weather, and a million other things that we don’t even really think about. This is such an interesting perspective to have, and it’s really clear how much thought has gone into writing this.

Overall, if you’re looking for none stop action, this might not be the book for you. There are some twists and surprises along the way, but the focus is on the people. If you enjoy character driven stories, then this is a great choice.

Want to chat, books or anything else, here are some other places you can find me:

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