On the eve of her twelve birthday, Sam Sanderson is visited by a friendly alien named Boj who convinces her to come with him to his planet, Kryg which is in danger and growing cooler due to the shrinking of its sun. The Krygians await Sam in anticipation; their prophecy claims she is the one who will find the elusive Hopewell Star that will save both Kryg and Earth from climate destruction. Sam agrees to take on the task, and the Krygs provide her with a device called a klug that will help her travel across the stars. When Sam returns to Earth, however, more problems await. As a local technology corporation increases its pollution of the environment, Sam begins to attend school for the first time after being homeschooled by her grandfather, and a group of telepathic vigilantes sweep Sam into their web of drama.
The many layers of JOURNEY TO THE HOPEWELL STAR intertwine to tell a complex story that is as compelling as it is timely. The environmental destruction by a corporation that mines minerals on both Earth and the moon mirrors what is happening today and offers a glimpse into what could be our future. Kryg’s technology, including their unique form of space travel via the klug, is innovative and provides plenty of fodder for the plot. Sam uses the klug at first to travel physically, but with the help of a book about meditation and the martial arts, her capabilities grow beyond what the klug can do. Alongside themes of climate change, conservation, and responsible use of technology, the book elevates empathy and kindness with intriguing fantasy plots elements, including telepathy and peaceful interplanetary relationships. Subplots concerning Sam’s new school friends, a bully, and Sam’s parents bolster these themes, while the interweaving layers to Sam’s journey and the high stakes provide tension and suspense.
Each of the novel’s characters contributes personality to the story and progresses the plot. Sam’s three friends each help her on her mission in ways that reflect their strengths. Simon’s penchant for building drones with cameras, for instance, helps the friends gain access to secure locations necessary to learn about the megacorporation. Kobe’s shyness and nonverbal behavior helps Sam develop empathy and the telepathic skills necessary for understanding the Krygians and other important characters. Kobe and Sam, among others, grow through their weaknesses to become stronger and more well-rounded characters as the plot unfolds. Sam is not yet a teen in JOURNEY TO THE HOPEWELL STAR, though her intelligence and wisdom read a bit older. Occasional technological jargon and complex themes make the novel more appropriate for a teenage audience, despite Sam’s tween age. Ignoring her youth, readers will find Sam a likeable, sympathetic, and intellectually compelling character.
Young adult author Hannah D. State effortlessly blends science fiction and fantasy in JOURNEY TO THE HOPEWELL STAR, an engaging story featuring an alien culture and a destructive megacorporation that is as enjoyable as it is timely.
~Aimee Jodoin for IndieReader