What Goes Up
by Katie Kennedy
To be published on July 18, 2017 by Bloomsbury
Source: ARC from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions. There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they’ll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that’s out of this world.
My review: What Goes Up
I really enjoyed Katie Kennedy’s first book. Learning to Swear in America, and I loved this one as well. At first, What Goes Up felt like a crazy astronaut version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with a group of teens competing for spots on the Interworlds Agency, a division of NASA that deals with the exploration of parallel universes with intelligent life. The competition was fierce, filled with psychological tests and intelligence tests and logic tests and stress tests.
Then, just as the testing is winding down and a final two candidates are about to be chosen, something dramatic happens. (I was going to be vague so as not to spoil it, but as the synopsis suggests, aliens from an alternate earth arrive and things get complicated. ) Then the three finalists, aided by their instructor, have to band together and figure out how save the world in a crazy, funny, suspenseful sequence of events.
I’m not a huge fan of books set in space, but I still found a lot here to love.
The characters are scary-smart and hilarious, a Scooby Gang of nerds with a lot of heart. You have Rosa, the daughter of a Los Alamos scientist, and Eddie, the son of a mean drunk who’s recently out of prison, plus Trevor and Reg, their instructor. Parallel universe stuff always freaks me out, and that aspect of the book was no exception. But this story also leveraged the humor behind the freakiness.
If you are a genius or space nerd, this is the book for you. I’m neither but loved trying to keep up and appreciated the book’s emphasis on the value of friendship and teamwork.
Have you read this or do you have a favorite book about space travel?