Friday, February 5, 2016

Teen review: The Martian

The Martian
by Andy Weir
369 Pages
Science Fiction

Reviewed by Michael Zhang, Grade 12

One of my favorite science fiction novels in recent memory, Andy Weir’s The Martian is a riveting tale of survival and perseverance in the face of insurmountable odds in an inhospitable environment. Recently adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film, The Martian tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut and botanist trapped on Mars after an accident during a deadly dust storm led to his crew leaving him for dead. Mark must learn how to survive and thrive on a planet where life doesn’t exist.

The novel is a delight, timely and relevant in every way, as we experience Mark’s successes and failures through his own eyes. What’s particularly fascinating to me about this book is how well researched it is, with scientifically accurate facts and references to real life events in the book. In fact, as far as I know, the only implausible element of the book lies in the dust storm that leads to Mark being stranded on Mars in the first place.

I really enjoyed this novel, and I would give it 5/5 stars. It’s a highly enjoyable book that evokes the feel of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. The cover is also captivating, and evokes the imagery of the novel, both the original cover as well as the film release’s cover. I’d recommend it for reading by any middle or high school student.

Editor's note: We read The Martian, a 2015 Alex Award-winner, for 10-12 Book Club and enjoyed it every bit as much as Michael did. Here is my mini-review. I would caution for younger readers, however, that if you are offended by swearing, there's a fair bit of it. Well, wouldn't you swear a lot if you were in Mark Watney's situation? C'mon!

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