Tula Bane is a young girl who is a part of a colonization plan. She is traveling with her family on a ship called Prairie Rose headed to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. The ship stops at a remote space station to take on supplies. Tula, a bit of an explorer and tired of being cooped up on the ship, goes off exploring on the station and sees the colonist leader, Brother Blue, off-loading supplies, and overhears him talking about the eventual doom of the colonists. The colonization plan is nothing more than a scam. There is no world to settle on. The colonists are being sent to their deaths. Bule discovers Tula hiding and beats her within an inch of her life and then abandons her on the station. Perhaps facing a worse fate – knowing what will happen to her family and to be left alone knowing no one else on the remote station.
An alien, Heckleck, befriends Tula and teachers her how to survive on the station. Still, Tula misses the company of other humans, and when three humans crash on the station she hatches a plan to escape the station, track down and kill Brother Blue and save her family and the other colonists. It’s a good thing there’s nothing like a romance to get in her way.
I went into this book not really knowing what to expect and was really pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get into this story because the writing was so smooth.
I knew this was a YA book, but the violence and the destined bleakness our protagonist faces was a bit of a shock. Clearly this was not going to be a ‘light’ read. And yet – it still was. Somehow author Cecil Castellucci manages to give us some of the most harsh punishment, physically and emotionally, for a child, and then still make this a story about friendship, longing, and survival and not a story about despair.
In many ways, this is precisely what I would want to find in a solid, middle-grade-reader/YA novel. A gentle touch on a tough subject. There’s a hint of romance, but neither the story, nor the characters, moon over such possibilities. Tula is a tough young girl and by necessity she becomes even tougher.
The station where Tula finds herself stranded is more than just a setting – it’s almost a character in the book. It’s a remote port, struggling to keep things running. It’s at the far end of traffic lines, circling a nearly dead world.
This really was a delightful read and I want to find the next book in the brief series, as well as other works by Castellucci.
Looking for a good book? Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci is a solid middle grade reader/YA science fiction story that focuses on strength of character and desire and should be a highly desired-to-read book for the younger readers.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review
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author: Cecil Castellucci
series: Tin Star #1
publisher: Roaring Brook Press
hardcover, 240 pages