I don’t often read sci-fi (except for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is one of my favourite re-reads when I need a laugh), but I do love school based stories, so Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins caught my attention. And I’m very glad it did as I think this is the best MG sci-fi I’ve read. I’m always nervous about saying that as someone always points out “but what about …” so maybe I should add “in years” to cover myself!
I feel the author his nicely bridged the gap between the “Planet Stan” chapter books to a full length sci-fi. BUT I’m surprised this is pitched as YA (the Amazon categories are all for adults), as I feel it sits very comfortably in upper middle grade i.e. for 9-12 year olds.
In fact, my only niggle is the cover. It’s a nice enough design, but it screams YA to me and as I said, I reckon this book is MG not YA. The protagonists are thirteen, so why do they look about eighteen on the cover?
This is a shame, as it’s actually a new cover following re-release (sorry!). If you’re curious here is the original cover. Now, the new cover is waaaaay better, but I think it’s still aiming too much at the YA category.
There are strong Hogwarts parallels, not just in the boarding school setting. For example, it has the classic Harry/ Ron/ Hermione triangle, with each character bringing a different background and their own (mis)beliefs as they team up.
It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers.
Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait.
Lose yourself in this brilliantly addictive novel as it takes you on a journey through the stars. But be warned – you might be surprised by what you find.
In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer. Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.