Summary: A Rover’s Story
A Rover’s Story is the story of a Mars rover (a robot sent to survey the planet, find another out-of-service rover, and help determine whether Mars is suited to human living. The story is told from several perspectives, including that of the rover (whose name is Res, short for Resilience) and Sophie, the daughter of one of the programmers who’s building the rover. After months of testing and tinkering in the lab, Res discovers that he’s experiencing human emotions. His twin rover, Journey, repeatedly tells him that robots should be logical, not emotional, so Res tries unsuccessfully to restrain his emotions. Finally, Res is sent to Mars with a friendly drone he calls Fly. But can he accomplish his mission? Or will his emotions get in the way?
This was a unique offering — especially from Warga who’s known for writing about Arab girls making their way in the world. Of course, there is an Arab family in this story but the book centers around Res who is a delightful robot/character. At the heart of the story is a love for science and a deep curiosity about the universe, which I appreciated.
Another charming aspect of the story is how we got to read from Sophie’s perspective even though all she knows about Res is that her mom spends all this time at the lab, missing from her, all to get this robot to Mars. Yet, she develops such an affinity for the robot and we get to see her go from middle school all the way to college in this book.
Beyond all the emotion in Sophie’s family and the challenges they go through, Res’s Mars adventure is worth all the pages it takes up. I loved watching him solve problems as he was trained to while doing his best to be an excellent rover. I listened to this one on audio so I can’t say much about the formatting except that the chapters were super short and it had a ton of pages so maybe it was a verse novel? Can’t say for sure.
Overall: A Rover’s Story
A Rover’s Story is a fresh, heartwarming middle grade sci-fi book about family, science, coding, and robots. It explores the power of human emotions and the fact that while there’s a time and place for logic, emotions add so much color to our lives. I’m not a huge fan of books from non-human perspectives, so I was hesitant to read this one, but the writing was so well done, and I found myself emotional at a few points throughout the story, so I definitely recommend this!