Melinda doesn't want to go to Mars. Why leave Earth when everything humans are meant to enjoy is there? But when her father, whom she's only seen sporadically over the last ten years, asks her to join him on a business trip to one of the Mars colonies after she graduates from high school, she can't bring herself to refuse him. Little does she know her months on Mars will change the way she thinks about life, love, and humanity.
With JOURNEY BETWEEN WORLDS, Sylvia Louise Engdahl has written a science-fiction story that will appeal to a variety of teens. Melinda faces many of the same problems today's young adults do, only in an otherworldly location. The first person narrative puts readers right inside Melinda's head and allows them to see through her eyes. Her struggle to overcome her fear of change and to examine her feelings and beliefs honestly should resonate with anyone uncertain of exactly who they are and want to be.
The story, of course, is not only about Melinda, but also Mars. The descriptions of Mars and its colonies are fascinating in their detail and realism, providing an exciting setting for Melinda's personal conflicts. The colonists, with their pride and passion, will make readers wonder if they, too, would have the pioneer spirit.
I would recommend JOURNEY BETWEEN WORLDS to any teen looking for a thought-provoking read. Unlike many science-fiction novels, this is not a story of action and technology, but rather of wonder. I'll admit, at times I wished there was more excitement, but overall it was a satisfying read. Both Melinda's problems and the issues raised by the colonization of another planet will give readers much to ponder long after they've finished reading.
Reviewed by: Lynn Crow