The One and Only Ivan meets The Wild Robot in this unique and deeply moving middle grade novel about the journey of a fictional Mars rover, from the Newbery Honor–winning author of Other Words for Home. New York Times bestseller!
A Best Book of the Year from The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly
Meet Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name.
Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop humanlike feelings. Maybe there’s a problem with his programming….
Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars’s difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration.
As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage, and resilience to succeed… and survive?
Rendered with philosophical internality, this touching, fact-filled novel by Warga (The Shape of Thunder) centers the maturation of gutsy Mars rover Resilience, "built to be an unbiased observer," alongside that of Sophie, child to one of Res's NASA scientist creators. The narration alternates between Res's account of gearing up for and executing a high-stakes Mars mission, and letters written to him by Sophie as she ages from sixth grader to adult. In the lab, Res's fascination with humans results in the robot internalizing non-programmed concepts, including preferences, desire, gladness, jealousy, and trust. Paired with a drone, Fly, on the journey to Mars, Res encounters imperious satellite Guardian, treacherous dust storms, and the worrisome thought of never returning to Earth. Sophie's letters reveal her envy of how Res's project monopolizes her mother, but also her eventual realization of Res's importance and the connection she feels to him. Res's initially musing narration accelerates on Mars's unfamiliar terrain, punctuated by funny banter as Res lives up to his name while showing that feelings are as valuable as logic. Occasional b&w artwork by Rockefeller (Poesy the Monster Slayer) emphasizes the robots' mission; Sophie's family speaks Arabic and has light brown skin. Ages 8–12.)