This is one of Heinlein's juvenile novels. That said, there's a couple of somewhat more adult portions, so I'd recommend that younger children shouldnThis is one of Heinlein's juvenile novels. That said, there's a couple of somewhat more adult portions, so I'd recommend that younger children shouldn't read it. At least not without having some an interesting discussion or two. But, since the main character is a older teenager, it's more aimed towards that age range.
It was written in 1951 and it certainly bears some of the hallmarks of that. Most notably in the fact that there is very little for the women in this novel to do. That said, the main love interest does express an interest in joining the women's corps in the military when the planet is at war, although it comes across as more along the lines as their participation in WWII, than full participation.
It's basically a boy's adventure novel like most of his juveniles (with the exception of Podkayne of Mars which has a female protagonist). It's a decent novel, and explores themes that he'd revisit in later novels. Here we have a colony world (Venus) rebelling against the Earth regime, very much like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress which had Luna rebelling against Earth.
I think a number of his juveniles perform a useful service in raising issues for young people to consider in a safe environment. It also helps in preparing them for other themes that will arise in his later novels (e.g., Starship Troopers which could be misconstrued) as well as themes in more weighty texts.
I listened to the Full-Cast Audio production which is kind of a mix of a book and a radio play. It's the full text of the book, but they use different people to play (i.e., read) the individual parts, along with the main narrator. I've quite liked their productions of Heinlein juveniles in the past and they once again did an excellent job here. Overall, it's a decent novel, but not a great one. If one is an adult interested in starting to read Heinlein, I'd really recommend his The Moon is a Harsh Mistress as a starting point. But, for the YA audience, I think the juveniles would work fairly well and this certainly isn't a bad one....more
This book is a bit of a mess. The author throws in a ton of ideas for both the plot and the characters. Beyond the basic idea of teeRating 3.5/5 Stars
This book is a bit of a mess. The author throws in a ton of ideas for both the plot and the characters. Beyond the basic idea of teen beauty queens crashed on an island, we have a sinister mega-corporation, secret agents, pirates, eco-terrorists, and a dictator. The characters seem like she's trying to be all inclusive. We have a lesbian, a transgendered girl, an Indian-American girl, an African-American girl, and a collection of other stereotypes from around the US.
All that said, while the plot drags at points (especially at the beginning), the humour is enough to carry it through and is what saves the book for me. The audiobook version I think really should be considered the definitive version since the author (who is also the narrator) does an excellent job with the character's voices. The asides and footnotes really shine in audio. I don't think the humour would come across as well in text form.
Even with the crazy plot, this really comes down to teen girls trying to find themselves. This is why I think the cast of characters is so broad. The author does a decent job of giving the characters their own personality, flaws, and challenges.
Overall, I quite liked the book despite the mess of a plot. ...more