Monday, February 10, 2014

Staff Review: Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Are you a fan of YA Fiction? Are you tired of reading depressing YA dystopias, especially given the cold, dreary weather we’ve been having? If you answered yes to either of those questions you really should give Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal a chance.

Elvie Nara makes the mistake of falling in lust with Cole Archer, the hottest guy in school. One thing leads to another and Elvie ends up pregnant. She tells Cole and he disappears. Nobody has seen him since Elvie dropped the pregnancy bomb. Did I mention that Cole’s girlfriend, Britta McVicker, and Elvie happen to be archenemies? Now Elvie is at a special school for pregnant teens and she is pretty much counting the hours until she can give the baby up for adoption. Elvie's mother died when she was young and always dreamed of traveling. Elvie wants to visit all the places her mom dreamed of going, and the only way to do that is by giving up the baby.

So far this sounds like a typical teen drama right? Sort of Juno meets Mean Girls? But wait, here is the twist. The book takes place in the year 2074. Hanover School, the school for pregnant teens, is actually an old low-orbit luxury cruiser spaceship. The title “Mothership” totally makes sense now doesn’t it? So Elvie and other pregnant teens are floating in space, going to class, getting prenatal care, hidden from the prying eyes of Earth. Ideal right? Wrong! Guess who also happens to be at Hanover School? Britta McVicker! Cole was a busy boy. Even in pregnant teen school there are cliques, and Britta is still the queen bee.

One day Elvie is skipping class and eating ice cream on the observation deck when suddenly she sees the ship being boarded by men dressed as some sort of space commandos. The mothership is under attack! Guess who happens to be one of the commandos? Cole Archer. What are the odds?

This book is kind of crazy and perhaps that is why I enjoyed reading it so much. Elvie is intelligent, snarky, mechanical, and determined. Cole is an absolute idiot (but he sure is pretty). And things on the mothership are not at all what they seem.

Elvie’s father is fantastic. This man has a contingency plan for every single scenario. Your teenage daughter is pregnant? He has a plan for that. The hood of your car pops open while driving at high speeds? Not only does he have a plan for that, he has actually practiced that scenario. Elvie’s best friend is named Ducky. If you are a fan of 80s movies you would be correct in guessing that Ducky got his nickname because of his resemblance to Jon Cryer’s character in Pretty in Pink (1986). Elvie and Ducky are obsessed with old movies. Ducky supports Elvie 100%. He is the greatest best friend ever.

When the mothership comes under attack, Elvie proves to be one heck of a leader. Her mechanical abilities come in handy and her snarky, sarcastic attitude adds quite a bit of humor. One thing, and this isn’t a spoiler, but I love the nicknames she has for her fellow classmates. My favorite has to be for the girl who is always chewing on her hair. Elvie simply refers to her as “Chewie” throughout the book. The events that lead up to Elvie attending Hanover School, and the attack on the spaceship, are told through flashback chapters in the book. It was nice to not have to suffer through the drama of teenage romance, and just see it through the eyes of the pragmatic and snarky Elvie. I think she gets that from her father.

This is the first book in a planned trilogy. I have some questions about Elvie’s mother, and I suspect there is more to her story. Maybe I will find out if I'm right somewhere within the next two books. This is a quick, fun read. Due to the subject matter, this book is better suited for older teens and adults. The second book, A Stranger Thing, is available now.

~ Amy, Adult Services

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