SYNOPSIS: 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.
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction
RATING: RATING: ★★★☆☆/ 3 Fast and Fun Stars.
REVIEW: I received this book from Bloomsbury Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved Katie Kennedy's first book LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA (review here if you're curious) when I read it last year. Definitely one of my favorite Young Adult books of the year, I still recommend it to people. So of course I jumped and begged for the chance to read Kennedy's newest book WHAT GOES UP. And while I didn't love it as much as her first book, it was still and fun and fast read that's perfect for easy Summer days.
This Sci-Fi novel takes place at an unknown future date, in which science and space travel here on Earth have advanced enough to, basically, be easier. The author doesn't hit you over the head with this idea however, it only shows up in small instances, like cell phones which have a "hover" mode (the easier to take selfies with). And in the fact that there is a NASA Multi-World Agency recruiting a team of High School students to train up in all things outer-space...just in case aliens come to visit. But otherwise, Earth is Earth and teens are teens! Of course teens being teens and aliens being aliens, things don't go quite so smoothly.
The first half of the book is cracking good fun. I loved the challenges that the cast of characters had to complete and battle with in order to prove themselves and gain a spot with the MWA. The scientific elements paired with revealing and discovering the different character personalities and their back stories was fantastic. Their burgeoning friendships and dialogue were spot on and just what I'd hoped and expected from Katie Kennedy. It felt a bit like Ender's Game meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (if that makes any sense at all). Science meets humor meets heart.
The second half is where we have to really suspend our disbelief however and let the crazy Sci-Fi ride just take over. And while it was enjoyable, it also felt a little disjointed and abrupt. There is a lot of action (and more humorous dialogue) but at the same time it didn't feel fully explored. It was a little too fast and jumped from point to point without letting the reader grasp the situations at hand. It sort of took me out the moment and I couldn't lose myself in the story. It's still fun to read, especially because I loved the characters more and more with each page, but it didn't flow as well as the first half.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, and if you're looking for a fun and fast Sci-Fi read with snappy dialogue among some genius teenagers, then this is your book! I already have the urge to reread it just for fun...and because I'm already imagining the continuation of the characters stories (I can't help in entertaining some mental fan-fiction. I really did love the characters that much).
Review by The Literary Llama