Tuesday, August 1, 2017

ARC Review: What Goes Up

Title: What Goes Up
Author: Katie Kennedy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Source: Bloomsbury for Review Consideration

Action-packed and wildly funny, this near-future sci-fi features three teens on an inter-dimensional mission to save the world.

Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they'll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that's out of this world.

 My Review

Katie Kennedy is writing about teens working for NASA again with her sophomore novel, What Goes Up. After having read Ms. Kennedy's amazing debut, Learning to Swear in America, last summer, I was excited for What Goes Up. Unfortunately for me, the excitement ended about a quarter of the way through this book.

Rosa and Eddie are in a competition to earn a spot in NASA's highly secretive Interworlds Agency program. After arriving, they, and hundreds of other applicants are put to multiple tests to see which teens have what it takes to be on team NASA. While many of the teens are eliminated almost immediately, Rosa, Eddie, and a few others remain. After some more testing, the final selection for IA is made, and Rosa, Eddie, Brad, and Trevor are a part of NASA. They quickly say goodbye to their lives and begin training for the unknown...

I will admit that I could not finish What Goes Up. I got as far as the teens making Interworlds Agency, and up to the point where they've begun training. For me, I just couldn't get into this book no matter how hard I tried, and believe me... I tried. There's nothing I love more than reading about smart teens, especially if outer space is involved, but nothing could save me from the boredom that is this book.

While the characters are interesting enough, I just felt like the writing on this one was lackluster. There weren't as many fun and goofy moments like there were in Ms. Kennedy's debut. Honestly, even though Eddie, Rosa, and the rest of the gang were doing different things with each test and training session, I just felt like it was too repetitive for as far as I read, and I needed to step away.

I'm hoping for a much better third novel from Katie Kennedy, so I'm definitely not giving up on her. I'm just giving up on What Goes Up.

Katie Kennedy is the author of Learning to Swear in America and a history professor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (closer to Wisconsin, really). In college, she studied Russian history. She has a son in high school and a daughter in college. Visit Katie online at www.katiekennedybooks.com and @KatieWritesBks.

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