Earth Force Rising by Monica Tesler
Summary: Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts. Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world. But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society. When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.
As a huge fan of ENDER’S GAME, I was so excited to read this book. And it did not disappoint! My son and I read it together before bed, and I would often find myself reading ahead after he went to sleep. (Shh! Don’t tell him.) From the foundational concept that those born with various forms of neurodiversity are able to harness interstellar travel, to the warm, funny, cast of characters, to the nonstop adventure Jasper and his friends find at EarthBound Academy, this is a series that can be appreciated by parents and kids alike, and is equally great for fun pleasure reading and deeper discussion.
EARTH FORCE RISING and its sequel, THE TUNDRA TRIALS, are out now.