Review: Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo

Publisher: Apex Books                               Genre: YA/Sci-Fi
Release date: June 13, 2017                         Pages: 300

The future is a world where life is now possible on Mars. Transportation between planets is still difficult and expensive, but it is possible. It turns out, however, that life on Mars isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Nanoannie dreams of the society and life on Earth, while trying to figure a way out of working the family business when she grows up. For Kapera, moving to Mars may be a matter of life or death, whether she wants to go or not.

Thoughts of moving to Earth soon become side problems, however, when Kapera’s parents go missing – leaving a radioactive science lab behind and dead bodies in the yard. The girls find themselves in the middle of more adventure than they could have imagined and find themselves facing kidnappers, cults, and spies who are desperate to get their hands on the technology Kapera’s parents were working on.

As someone who dreamed about going on an adventure to Mars as a child, I was excited by the premise of a world where life on Mars was not only possible, but a reality. Unfortunately, despite an intriguing premise and the potential for a new and exciting world, the book fell flat for me.

I do not read a lot of science fiction, so maybe someone more used to this type of world building would have had an easier time getting into the world, but I struggled with the world building. Instead of being captivated by the slangs and new terms, I found them to be a barrier to understanding, and the dialect made it difficult to connect with the characters.

I strongly considered DNF’ing this book, but decided to push through, and I am glad I did. As I allowed myself to just bypass words and terms that didn’t make sense, and scenes that seemed to go nowhere and add nothing, I found myself enjoying the bones of the story. There were many plot points that I enjoyed and I could see the potential for an excellent story.

Some reviewers have lauded the friendship of Nanoannie and Kapera, and praised the story for demonstrating a strong female friendship where the male characters were on the sidelines, but I just couldn’t see it. Almost every action Nanoannie took was motivated by her underlying desire to meet Kapera’s brother – the boy she was certain would be her soulmate. Though there were hints at a solid female friendship, there were times it seemed that the reason Nanoannie cared about Kapera was that, should Kapera be lost or killed, Nanoannie would never get to meet her soulmate.

Overall, I found myself wishing that I could have enjoyed the story more. The world could have been great, the friendship could have been strong, it could have been an inspiring story about two girls overcoming all of the odds to save each other and overthrow a sinister plot.

Though I would consider reading more from Mary Turzillo in the future, I have to give this one a pass.

I received this book for review through LibraryThing’s early review program in exchange for an honest review.

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