Review Detail

Kids Fiction 105
1986 Challenger Disaster
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Nova is severely autistic and verbally unintelligible, although she can manage simple things like "yes", "no", and some names. She and her older sister Bridget have been in the foster care system for a number of years because their mother was mentally ill and could not care for them. Bridget understood Nova, and told everyone that her sister was "a thinker, not a talker". The two were very interested in the upcoming Challenger space launch in 1986, and although they are currently separated (Bridget is almost 18), Nova is sure that her sister will return. Nova's current foster family is very understanding and supportive, and Nova is starting to feel at home there. Her foster mother and father don't believe the former school records that indicate that Nova is severely retarded (the term used at the time) and basically unteachable, and are looking forward to her testing results in her new school. Nova does understand the world around her, and writes letters to her sister that tell the reader much about what she is thinking, even though another student looks at the letter and indicates that while some words are recognizable, it looks largely like scribble. Nova does well in her new school and makes some friends, and her home life is definitely an improvement, since the family (including a college aged daughter) understand that her "odd noises" are sometimes laughter, that her favorite bear has a name, and that she can understand requests to modify her behavior and comply with them. When her class at school watches the Challenger lift off and are faced with the horrible disaster, Nova is understandably upset, and also comes to terms with the real reason that Bridget has not returned for the launch.
Good Points
While this is not a true #ownvoices book, the author experienced sensory processing disorders as a child, which added a layer of verisimilitude to the things like tags in clothing and noises that irritated Nova. It's written with a nice balance of Nova's own thoughts, and her experiences through the lenses of others in order to fill in gaps of understanding that Nova might have. The historical setting of the Challenger disaster is something for which I have been looking for some time.

This is timely because it involves a character on the autism spectrum and foster care. While there are many sad things about this book, it is generally upbeat, and the portrayal of a successful foster care family is something that is more and more needed in middle grade literature.

There are a number of books that have been published recently that involve children in various stages of the foster care system; Hunt's One for the Murphys(2012) and Sloan's Counting by 7's (2013) seem to have started this resurgence. More recent books include Dilloway's The Summer of a Thousand Pies, Hennessey's Echo Park Castaways, and Lewis' Scarlet Ibis. It's important for young readers to understand that the children in their school have a variety of experiences, and for all readers to see themselves in literature. I know that Ohio has an increasing number of children in the foster care system, so I'm always glad to see books that show experiences my population might have.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sage Sassafras’s life is cursed! No, really. Since birth, Sage...
Naked Mole Rat Saves the World
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world? ...
The Brokenhearted
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and...
Brave Enough
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Teenager Cason Martin is the youngest ballerina in the Atlanta...
I Wanna Be Where You Are
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a...
The Moment We Fell (Mystic Shores Series, Book #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Nothing good happens when people keep secrets. ...
The Hit List
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Los Angeles Conservatory for the Arts is supposed to...
Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (Amelia Fang, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A hilarious illustrated middle grade series for reluctant readers starring...
Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis (Amelia Fang, #2)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a hilarious heavily illustrated middle-grade series...
Small World
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Nanda is born, the whole of her world is...
On the First Day of Summer Vacation
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
When school is out, it’s time to celebrate and have...
Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants (The Questioneers, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An instant New York Times bestseller! ...
Bad Bella
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bella is the very best dog a family could ask...
Dear Justice League
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hello! Justice League here. Ask us anything! ...
Cracking the Bell
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Friday Night Lights meets Concussion in this powerful and important...
Ghosts of Lock Tower
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A haunted tower, an evil ghost, a monster spawned from...

Latest Member Reviews

Nemesis (Project Nemesis 1)
 
4.0
"Nemesis is a page-turning, thrilling puzzle that will grab the reader from the very beginning. Told in first-person from the..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
4.7
"Anna's father decides he's going to send Anna to a international boarding school in Paris. It's her senior year and..."
Faithful
 
5.0
"Faithful is a story that combines history, romance, and a bit of mystery. Set in the summer of 1904 and..."
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1)
 
3.7
"The novel opens following the death of 14-year-old Alex Rider’s guardian and uncle Ian in a car accident. Alex becomes..."
Popular: How A Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence
 
5.0
"Most so-called memoirs can come off dry or not too interesting. POPULAR isn't that book. Rather it's an..."
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1)
 
N/A
""When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it's never good news". Alex(main character) is a school boy, his..."
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1)
 
3.3
"Alex's adventures remind me of the Hardy Boys and how I felt when I read them for the first time..."
Demonosity
 
4.0
"Demons, magic, knight warriors, ancient book, "a powerful ancient force", good vs evil, and a teenager, Cassidy, in the middle..."
Sirens (Faithful #3)
 
3.3
"I am going to be going back and reading the first two for sure. Overall a good read, and..."
Twelfth Grade Kills
 
4.7
"Twelfth Grade Kills will be something I come back and read. Even though a lot of great people died I..."
Spirit Walk (Walk #1-2)
 
5.0
"One the best paranormal story I have read so far. I even wanted to call on sick at work so..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
5.0
"I don't even know where to start. This book was amazingly sweet and wonderful. First of all it takes place..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
N/A
"I really love Stephanies two books. She write amazing yet unique stories and wonderful characters."
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1)
 
4.3
"A mysterious thriller that takes place in top secret investigation. There was this kid named Alex Rider he lived..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
4.7
"When i began to read Anna and the french kiss, i thought it would be lame and borring. But i..."
Salvation
 
4.3
"What I Loved: My very favorite thing about Salvation is the subject matter. As we readers know, YA fiction tends..."
Sirens (Faithful #3)
 
4.0
"What I Loved: The world building! Wow. From the very first word, the reader is completely drawn into the..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
5.0
"Anna and the French Kiss has been hyped beyond belief in the book blogging community. Sometimes hype turns out to..."
Anna and the French Kiss
 
5.0
"I really love Stephanie Perkins. She knows just how to write amazing contemporary love stories that will leave you..."
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1)
 
4.3
"Okay, so, Alex is a normal fourteen year old. He goes to school, and does completely normal stuff. At least,..."