Intrepids by Diana Huang
My 4th year participating in reviewing a book for Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCBD) #ReadYourWorld.
Thank you to Diana Huang, author, for sending me her book to review along with three fun book marks.
The mission of MCBD is:
Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.
I enjoyed "Intrepids" more than I thought I would. I'm not much, if any, of a sci-fi reader and so when I received this book I was a little concerned it just wouldn't be the right fit for me. However, Katie, the main character/protagonist, I really "got". I think this middle grade story does a great job of presenting themes such as bullying, finding yourself, confidence building, and racial/ethnic discrimination. Katie is a US citizen, but due to her Asian background/upbringing she is discriminated against.
The story opens with Katie at a science camp in the summer. She is clearly being bullied by the other campers. I appreciated the author's honesty in writing about specific "tween" situations that all of us have likely experienced: not fitting in, the dreaded "showering" in front of others, body image issues, and also just dealing with kids who are jerks. She also shares that she struggles with academics and her parents don't seem to be understanding of this. Very early on Katie runs from campers who are bullying her. She runs into the woods and when she feels it is safe to rest she sits down and eats an apple. This apple is magical and transports her to another planet. On this planet she meets centaurs who are fighting the dreaded gowels (I envisioned a snake like creature). The gowels are taking over the planet and controlling other "beings" all very mythical aka centaurs, dragon like creatures, and flops, by biting them and releasing phenom which then turns them into the gowel's slaves. Katie is a true leader throughout the story and the animals/beings really look to her for education, information, guidance, and this then allows her to grow confidence in herself.
I struggled with the ending of the book. Katie makes it back to earth by finding the tree with magical apples and eating another one. However, there is no closure with any of the "camp" issues that are introduced at the beginning. It was a very quick read and the sci-fi was fine. I know the author is a talented artist and so think her drawings could have added to this story. Three star read for me.
I'd like to highlight those that have supported this years MCBD #ReadYourWorld event.