Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!
Author: SJ Kincaid
Goodreads Description: The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy perfect for fans of Ender’s Game.
The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.
As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay. . . .
Why it’s worth it: This book has been on my mind since my From the Notebook video titled Where is the YA for Boys? Insignia is one of the books that I mention me and my brother both having enjoyed, so I figured that it was fitting to give it it’s own time in the spotlight.
The fast way to say why this book is worth it is: it’s FUN. It’s SO MUCH FUN. I’m not the easiest person to make laugh out loud, but this is one of the books that did it for me. The main characters in this book–the whole ensemble, in fact–really stick out at me every time I think of it because they all had such a genuine friendship and good time with each other. When I read back over my ARC review in preparation for this post, I remembered the exact scene of hilarity I was referencing in it despite not having read it since that initial review in 2012.
I am not usually easy to sell scifi too either, since whenever I see it in book form I’m usually annoyed with it for one reason or another. Kincaid’s use of science and world building was good but also easy to access, painting a world that I could understand without hitting me in the head with weird and difficult science concepts. I enjoyed the space action immensely–but, again, super happy that the emphasis stayed on the characters and not the explosions.
Sure, there are some not so great things about this book. It straddles the line between YA and middle grade, so there is this weird half-hearted romance that happens, but it doesn’t particularly overrun the story. The ending villain reveal isn’t as in-depth as one might hope either, but in terms of a first book in a trilogy I’ll give it a pass.
It’s hard not to love something that was just FUN. Also, that me and my brother both enjoyed reading. Though I never read the rest of the series, I find this to be a serious failure on my part. Hey, at least I got my brother into the series. He finished it–and now it’s time to borrow his books.
Read it if you’re looking for: Great cast of characters, science fiction, books like Ender’s Game but better, laugh out loud humor, male protagonists, realistic characters, space battles, action, adventure, fast paced reads, fun