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Planet Earth Is Blue

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  84 reviews
"Tender and illuminating. A beautiful debut." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Reach Me

A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger-
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Random House
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4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  216 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Official back-of-the-book blurb (my first!!!): "A remarkable, sensitively told debut with a joyfully positive portrayal of neurodifference. Nova, and her indomitable spirit, will remain with you long after you close the book."

There are some stories, and some characters, that just worm their way into your heart and stay there. I have been mildly obsessed with Nicole Panteleakos's PLANET EARTH IS BLUE ever since I first saw her talking about it before #PitchWars in 2016. Just from her description,
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I remember when the Challenger exploded. It is one of those things that you don't forget, just as earlier generations remember when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, or when Pearl Harbor was bombed. It etches into your mind. So, going into this book, with Nova getting all excited about the Challenger launch, you know there is going to be disappointment. You know it is going to be sad. You know it will be horrible when it happens.

And it would be great if we could protect Nova from this horrible e
Naomi Milliner
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The problem with this book is, once you pick it up, you can't put it down. The heroine, Nova, is an autistic girl trapped in a non-verbal world - and yet, she is eloquent. Her gestures, her emotions, and her thoughts (conveyed in occasional first-person letters to her sister) are both unique yet universal... as is this book. Filled with heart and hope, this debut novel is one you'll remember long after turning the last page. Highly recommended.
Shaye Miller
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a touching story told from the perspective of 12-year-old Nova, who is autistic and non-verbal. She has been in foster care for many years and is currently hanging on to a promise made by her older sister, Bridget, that they will be together again for the launch of the space shuttle Challenger. No matter what.

One of the most amazing parts of this book is being gifted with the internal feelings of Nova as she experiences mistreatment and misdiagnosis time and again. It takes the love of a
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Nova is severely autistic and verbally unintelligible, although she can manage simple things like "yes", "no", and some names. She and her older sister Bridget have been in the foster care system for a number of years because their mother was mentally ill and could not care for them. Bridget understood Nova, and told everyone that her sister was "a thinker, not a talker". The two were very interested in the upcoming Challenger space launch in 1986, and although they ar
Joshua Levy
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Twelve-year-old Nova is counting down to the launch of the space shuttle Challenger and missing her big-sister Bridget, who is nowhere to be found. A perennial foster home resident, Nova is autistic and non-verbal. But thanks to PLANET EARTH IS BLUE, the reader is given the opportunity to see the world through Nova's fully realized internal voice. Told in third-person and first-person/epistolary chapters, we get to know Nova's wishes and fears, and watch her stumble and grow. Gorgeously-written ...more
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, kids
All the stars in the galaxy to PLANET EARTH IS BLUE by Nicole Panteleakos. Luminous and heartfelt, this story is the story of Nova, who is autistic and nonverbal. She is counting down the days until the space shuttle Challenger launches, both because she adores space and because her big sister Bridget promised she’d be home so they can watch together. I don’t trust myself to write more without spoiling, so I will say this: this is an incredible book that will make you think and feel. When I fini ...more
Madison Lessard
I won an ARC of Planet Earth Is Blue in a giveaway from the site Nerdy Book Club!
You can read my full review of this ARC on my blog here.
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars!

Oh my gosh. What a story. I’m an autistic female reader, so I was absolutely over the moon (pun indended, I think) when I found out I’d won this ARC. This is only the second book I’ve ever heard of (the first being Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik) featuring an autistic female character, and representation is so important
Rebecca Balcárcel
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
Nova is a space geek who loves all things NASA, and she is counting down the days until the Challenger lifts off and takes the first teacher into space. Nova is clear about this, but she's confused about many other aspects of her life. Why are she and her sister always moving from one foster home to another? And where is Mama? Why does every new school have to test her so much? And why isn't her sister with her as this new (and nicest so far) foster home? As Nova pieces information together, the ...more
Nicole Hewitt
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

Planet Earth Is Blue is a heartwrenching portrayal of a little girl who can't tell the world who she truly is. The book is set in the 80s and starts ten days before the fateful launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The story centers around Nova, a non-verbal autistic girl. She struggles to show the world that she is more than they think she is---that though she can't speak well, she is intelligent and curious. It's a
Cass Moskowitz
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Immediate five stars from the get go. Every inch of this book is wonderfully done. Every word in this book felt calculated in a wonderful way that I cannot begin to explain. So beautiful and heartbreaking. A must read.
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Truly wonderful. Never condescending, always honest, this story is both hopeful and heartbreaking at the same time. Nova is a non verbal, autistic and misunderstood child and I just love this story about her, hearing her inner voice and watching her grow.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gutted me. I couldn’t stop reading. I admit, I was wary at first. My son has apraxia of speech and I was wary of how the Neurodiversity would be handled. But I think it was done extremely well. The storyline is artfully crafted and I was not expecting one part. Nova will crawl into your heart and stay there. I am not a crier, but I cried multiple times while reading this.
Rajani LaRocca
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to read this book pre-publication, and it is an astronomically beautiful, gorgeously written, heartbreaking story. Readers will fall in love with 12-year-old Nova, who thinks deeply and feels strongly despite her inability to communicate in ways that most people understand. The author does a remarkable job of depicting Nova's life and thoughts. We count down the days until the Challenger launch with Nova and hope it will bring the return of her missing sister Bridget. This is ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, 10-up
Nova is 12 and autistic. She and her older sister could communicate but they lost their father to the Vietnam war and their mother to mental illness. The girls lived with several foster families. Because she cannot speak well, Nova is considered retarded by many. The Challenger launch excites her because her sister taught her about space and she anticipates the launch with great excitement. The author has worked with autistic students and portrays the problems faced by the caregivers in a reali ...more
Zack Barnes
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on A to Z Book Reviews.

Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos is a must read novel, especially by educators. Nova is a 12 year old girl with autism. She’s nonverbal and has been in foster care with her older sister, Bridget, for years. As Bridget approaches her 18th birthday, she runs away. Nova is on her own with a new foster family. Being away from Bridget is different for Nova, who has been called Bridget’s shadow.

While Nova is nonverbal, that doesn’t mean she is lacking
I had the opportunity to read a NetGalley digital ARC of this historical fiction novel in exchange for a review. I shudder to think that this story, which is set in January of 1986, is historical fiction. I was a sophomore in high school when the tragedy of the space shuttle Challenger happened. I was sitting down in my geometry class, and the teacher, who had just seen the explosion on TV, came in the room and told us what had happened.
The events of this book have that disaster as a backdrop.
Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

This was one of those rare middle grade novels that make me remember why I love them so very much. I have had my eye on this title for quite a while, and have been in love with the cover ever since I first saw it. I am so, so excited to say that this one lived up to all of my expectations and then more. This is the book for the canon currently filled with titles such as Wond
Abby Johnson
Holy cats, this book y'all. It broke my heart into a million pieces.

It's 1986 and Nova has just been placed with a new foster family. She's separated from her older sister for the first time ever and it's devastating to her. Nova has autism and is mostly nonverbal - Bridget is the only person who could really understand her and now she's run away, leaving Nova to deal with the new family and a new school by herself. Hard stuff when the outside world assumes that just because Nova can't communic
Kate Hastings
Grades 4-8. Nova has recently been placed with a new foster family. She is 12 and has non-verbal autism. It's 1986 and Nova is extremely interested in space-- especially the upcoming launch of the first teacher on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Of course she wishes she could tell people what is on her mind-- the only person who understands her is her sister Bridget. She hasn't seen her since they ran away from their last foster parents. But her sister promised, PROMISED that no matter what happen ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
Nova’s big sister, Bridget, taught her all about space exploration and the planets. She is the person who has protected and defended Nova all of her life, from when they entered foster care to when people at school think that Nova is not smart. Nova finds talking difficult, so she doesn’t speak much at all, something has has gotten her labeled by their social worker as not understanding anything at all. But Nova understands a lot. In her new foster home and new school, her sister is not with her ...more
Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Children’s, and Wendy Lamb Books for the advance reader copy of Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos, in exchange for an honest review. I could not put this book down, debut author, Nicole Panteleakos, nails Nova’s nonverbal autism, her daily frustrations being silent, missing her big sister, Bridget (who gets Nova and champions Nova’s vast knowledge of space and everything else!!!) excitement for the liftoff of the Challenger, a new school, and foster ...more
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully, heartbreakingly written. I have rarely been so tense waiting for answers in a non-mystery book!
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could give this book six stars. As a sister and caregiver to an autistic younger brother, I had tears in my eyes the entire time I was reading this book. Panteleakos writes the story of Nova and Bridget with such love, care, and empathy, her story reflecting experiences I’ve had in my own family and some I never hope to experience. What a beautiful, devastating, and thoughtful book.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful novel about a nonverbal autistic girl who is waiting for her big sister to return and help her navigate her new school and foster care placement.

The author's experience with autistic children shows in the absolutely authentic portrayal of our 12 year old heroine.
Michele Knott
If you enjoy books that pull on your heartstrings, make sure this one is on your list. It's touching, it's beautiful and it's important.
Nova is a nonverbal, autistic middle schooler living in the 80s. She's been shuffled around from foster home to foster home with her older sister, Bridget. Chapters alternate from being told in the third person - the reader sees what is happening to Nova and gets glimpses from time to time about what has happened in her past - to letters written to Bridget by No
Dec 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: read-in-2018
This beautiful middle grade novel (due out in May 2019) is brimming with heartbreak, hope, warmth, and insight. It’s about Nova, a nonverbal autistic girl who loves space, astronauts, The Little Prince, and her older sister Bridget, and who is a “thinker, not a talker,” as Bridget always said. Nova finds herself at a new foster home without Bridget when the book begins, and the novel alternates between chapters narrated in third person and first-person letters that Nova writes to Bridget—in “scr ...more
Kristin Thorsness
This beautiful debut follows Nova, a non-verbal girl with autism (she’s a “thinker”, not a “talker”), through the ten days leading up to the Challenger launch. Nova is in the foster care system and has recently been placed in a new foster home—separated from her big sister, Bridget. Bridget and Nova share a love for all things space exploration and Bridget has promised Nova that no matter what, she’ll be back so they can watch the launch together.

While Nova waits for both the return of her siste
Nova begins a new placement with yet another foster family while anticipating the launch of the space shuttle Challenger and awaiting the return of her older sister.

This book is beautifully written and very sad. The space shuttle Challenger foreshadows tragedy from the very beginning of the story.

Nova and her sister Bridget entered the foster care system seven years ago after their mother's mental illness, triggered by her husband's death in Vietnam, rendered her incapable of caring for them. N
Rajani LaRocca
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This incredible book is about Nova, a nonverbal autistic girl who loves space and the space program, and is waiting for the return of her big sister, who promised she'd be back in time to see the Space Shuttle Challenger launch. This story is full of heart and resonance, filled with Nova's desire to be seen and loved for who she is as she struggles to understand the world around her. I'll be thinking about this beautiful novel for a long time to come.
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When I love a book, I give it five stars. If I don't love it, I keep it to myself. That's why every book/ARC I've rated thus far has five stars - but that doesn't mean books I've read and not yet rated are less loved! I haven't had Goodreads long so adding ratings all the time.

Feel free to comb through them to find awesome middle grade and YA novels (and the occasional book for adults) to read an