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We Dream of Space

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,918 ratings  ·  482 reviews
It's January 1986. The launch of the Challenger is just weeks away, and Cash, Fitch, and Bird Nelson Thomas are three siblings in seventh grade together in Park, Delaware.

Cash loves basketball, Dr. J, and a girl named Penny; he's also in danger of failing seventh grade for a second time. Fitch spends every afternoon playing Major Havoc at the arcade and wrestles with an ex
...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published May 5th 2020 by Greenwillow Books
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  1,918 ratings  ·  482 reviews


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Erin Kelly
Jan 11, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I was in elementary school when the Challenger launched from Cape Canaveral. Like many people who witnessed the national tragedy, it has stayed with me over the years. I started writing this book in 2016, but Lalani of the Distant Sea called me away. Once Lalani was safely on her journey, I returned to the Nelson-Thomas siblings.

I didn't just want to write about the Challenger. Mostly, I wanted to write about family. Specifically, an imperfect family, and young people in an unpredictable house w
...more
Colby Sharp
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I began this year finishing a book that I am sure will end up being one of my favorites of 2020. Erin Entrada Kelly will go down as one of the greatest storytellers of her time. This book will captivate young readers. 20 years from now parents will gift this book to their kids. They will tell them that it was their favorite book they read growing up.
We Dream of Space is so darn good.

Adding it to my list of awesome 2020 books: https://www.mrcolbysharp.com/2020
...more
Dennis
Expectations, expectations.

On paper, a story of three 80’s kids navigating middle-school and dreaming of space, set against the backdrop of the Challenger disaster, sounds great.

Okay, it really wasn’t bad. However, I expected this to be a story of a mostly carefree youth, being suddenly impacted by that fateful day in January 1986, with the characters then having to rely on their support system to get them through this difficult moment. Well, nope. That’s not what this is. These kids don’t have
...more
Danielle
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Erin Entrada Kelly tells the truth.

In this story, she tells the truth about a family. About absent, bickering parents. About middle school. About siblings. About disappointment and regret and doubt and learning to own who you are, what you want, and your own responsibility to yourself and the people who surround you.

"Who needs real? We're surrounded by real all the time." p. 104

"Pretty is nothing. Pretty is invisible. Pretty is what you make it." p. 150

"She wished she was part of a different f
...more
Samantha
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Cute and mostly likable, though too long on message and short on story.

Conceptually, this was a middle grade novel with a lot of potential. Unfortunately the execution was a bit of a disappointment.

Our protagonists are three likable siblings with very relatable problems (though their cartoonishly awful parents are kind of an eye roll). Some of their actions and inner monologues are a little too on the nose, even for a middle grade book, but mostly they feel like real kids navigating real issue
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Katie
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

This was a really good story. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect because I didn't know that much going into it, but I ended up really enjoying it. This is the story of three siblings who have basically nothing in common and how things in their lives bring them closer together. I am a sucker for sibling relationships and I loved seeing how their relationship progressed as the story continued. It's woven with themes of space and exploration as it takes place leading up to
...more
DaNae
I ultimately loved this book, but some of it was hard for me. The bickering between the parents felt so genuine, it gave me a bit of PTSD. Kelly gives every character a true and honest place. None of them felt like a cookie cutter insertion.
Matt Godfrey
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has so much heart and so much feeling. I wish I could start from scratch and read it all over again.
Richie Partington
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie’s Picks: WE DREAM OF SPACE by Erin Entrada Kelly, Greenwillow, May 2020, 400p., ISBN: 978-0-06-27430-3

“Beauty’s only skin deep
It goes just so far ‘cause
You’re only pretty as you feel”
--Jefferson Airplane (1971)

Happy New Years!

Do you remember when Dr. J. ruled the NBA; when everyone played Donkey Kong and hacky-sack, and watched Family Ties? Those of us who are now forty and beyond lived through those Reagan years. And we vividly recall the 1986 Challenger catastrophe.

For me, it was half
...more
Mila
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.

4,75 stars

Erin Entrada Kelly has such a huge talent for writing complex and intriguing characters and this novel was no exception. She did a great job of capturing the beginning of adolescence and the confusing feelings and desires that come with it. And all of this was very seamlessly tied to the topic of space exploration and made for a very raw and meaningful story.
Shaye Miller
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was looking forward to reading this book, especially considering the fact that the three Nelson-Thomas siblings were around the age I was during the historic launch of the Challenger. Cash, Fitch, and Bird are all very different children, growing up together in a rather unhappy home. Cash keeps failing 7th grade and if he keeps this up, he’s going to fall into a grade level below his younger siblings. Fitch is a crazy ball of anger — he struggles to keep himself calm when the littlest things a ...more
Kelly
Apr 20, 2020 added it
Shelves: read-in-2020
I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but I do know EEK’s books always hit the spot when I do. Her latest is no different, as it follows a family in January 1986 experiencing a whole host of discontent and challenge amid the Challenger launch.

Bird and Fitch -- short for Bernadette and “Pitch a Fit” -- are twins. Their older brother Cash has been having a hard time in school, and despite being older than them, he’s in the same grade, 7th, they are. Early in the story, things begin to spiral when C
...more
Laura Gardner
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cash, Fitch, and Bird are siblings who, along with their parents, are on different orbits within their home. The year is 1986 and all three siblings are in 7th grade; Cash was held back once and Fitch and Bird are twins. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas fight incessantly in front of their children and all three children feel lost to some degree. Cash is a poor student who might fail 7th grade for the second time, Fitch has an anger problem he can’t seem to control, and Bird is the responsible one, the glue t ...more
Alex  Baugh
It's January 1986 and the nation was being geared up for the launch of the space shuttle Challenger, a more than average historical event since it would include schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe as part of the crew. It is an exciting time for Ms. Salonga, science teacher at Park Middle School in Park, Delaware and on January 2, she begins a month long unit called Space Month. This is met with varying degrees of enthusiasm by the three Nelson Thomas siblings, Cash, 13, and twins Bird and Fitch, 12, ...more
alisonwonderland (Alison)
Reading the middle grade novel We Dream of Space reminded me of two things:

1. When I was twelve years old - about the same age as Bird in this story - I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up - the first female astronaut, since this was 1976, still a few years before Sally Ride would take that honor.
2. On January 28, 1986, I was a grad student, working as an audit intern at a bank in Southern California. I was asking one of the bankers some questions when another bank employee came in and tol
...more
Ms. Arca
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg-faves
Well, dang. I knew I’d enjoy it because— Erin Entrada Kelly is a boss.. but wow. This is beautifully done.

Initially, I was bummed (very!!!!) I’ll be honest with lack of POC rep. That hurt. Selfishly I want our best authors, especially in the kid realm! putting their brilliant chops towards more nuanced, gorgeous representation.

However. This ended up working for me & there’s no way I would’ve been able to not fall for these three MC kids the other types of rep they brought to the table.

This bo
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vanessa
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really sweet story about tween siblings living with difficult parents and just trying their best. I really loved Cash, Fitch, and especially Bird. This book focuses on characters and their internal struggles, their thoughts. It rang really true - this is how I was as a tween and how tweens I know interact: "no, I don't care what people are saying, but really I do care, what are they saying?" and "I just want to be good at something." The plot leads up to the Challenger disaster of 198 ...more
Sherry Guice
Set in the 1980s with the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as a setting backdrop...three siblings struggle to find their places in school and family...the title, We Dream of Space, has multiple meanings...one character does dream of space travel, one plays video games in an arcade--all three need "space" in their family. ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
I was excited to read this younger MG novel, set in 1986 when the Challenger exploded but couldn’t get into the story. DNF
zane deann
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a beautiful book.
Danielle
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Erin Entrada Kelly tells the truth.

In this story, she tells the truth about a family. About absent, bickering parents. About middle school. About siblings. About disappointment and regret and doubt and learning to own who you are, what you want, and your own responsibility to yourself and the people who surround you.

"Who needs real? We're surrounded by real all the time." p. 104

"Pretty is nothing. Pretty is invisible. Pretty is what you make it." p. 150

"She wished she was part of a different f
...more
Laura Janette
This book is set against the backdrop of the Challenger tragedy in 1986. With this storyline, I thought it had tons of potential. However, it fell flat for me.
Lincoln
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
2000 stars best book i have read all year!
Darla
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three siblings live life and are changed by the Challenger disaster in January, 1986. I was a college student and returned from class just in time to observe the ill-fated launch on the small B/W set in my dorm room. This is the second book I have read in the past year that features that time period. The first was "Planet Earth Is Blue" by Nicole Pantaleakos. The books are very different and would be valuable read one after the other. What I really liked about this new book by Kelly was the char ...more
Zora
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Again, I can't claim to predict how MG kids will take this.

It wore me down. 78% of it is a dysfunctional family and two boy children being unpleasant because of the dysfunction. The dysfunction isn't booze, drugs, or beatings. It's page after page after page of endless bickering. I was ready to file for divorce myself by halfway through, and I've been divorced for 20 years!

The girl is the one bright light, and when she suffers upset over the space shuttle exploding, the boys support her for a fe
...more
Kristine
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was excited about this book, to put myself in the place of a person slightly older than myself who would have been middle-school-aged at the time of the Challenger disaster in 1986. I work in the world of human spaceflight, it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. This book had a deal-breaker for me, however, when the teacher asked the students to close their eyes and imagine they were aboard the space shuttle on launch day... in Houston, Texas. I don’t know how this egregious error made it into the b ...more
Czechgirl
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book Kelly has written. Just like in Hello Universe, the book is written from three kids (siblings) point-of-view. The reader gets to know each character’s feelings pretty well. Well-written. I enjoyed the journey the book took me through. This is a book I would consider as a read-aloud to my next school year’s class.
Dan
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite historical fiction stories in a long time!
Brandy Painter
"But to be small is not to be inconsequential. Never mistake size for might."

SIBLINGS. This may actually be the most genuine portrayal of siblings and family to come from a MG novel in quite some time. It is so genuine at times it is painful, but it's also worth it. (Trust me.) Kelly beautifully captured the inner lives of three very different middle schoolers and gave them each a voice and personality that leaps off the page. Each of their struggles is important and different. Kelly manages to
...more
Katie
Jan 10, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, middle-grade
3.5 Stars!

I think my expectations were a bit high for this one, but I still enjoyed it!

We Dream of Space follows three siblings in 1986 during the weeks leading up to the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. Cash, Fitch, and Bird are struggling through middle school and their dysfunctional family life isn’t helping any of them figure out who they want to become. Cash is the oldest and has failed 7th grade. Fitch is great at video games but has some anger issues, and Bird is wise and caring, but
...more
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