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Taking Off

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  301 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
In Clear Lake, Texas, a group of astronauts has begun training for the "Challenger" mission. Among them is a teacher named Christa McAuliffe, the woman chosen to be the first teacher in space. When Annie meets Christa, she is fascinated by her determination and courage. Following Christa's NASA journey through the news, Annie sees that Christa seems to be an ordinary perso ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Walker & Company (first published January 4th 2010)
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Jenny I'm sorry I'm just now answering this question! Annie likes writing in free verse, occasionally blank verse. What about you?
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Rebecca McNutt
Nov 08, 2015 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nostalgia, fiction
Taking Off is a great book. It drags on once or twice throughout but otherwise the way it evokes the "anything is possible" attitude of 1986 is powerful and very memorable.
First and foremost, I must thank my wonderful Secret Santa ARLENE for gifting me this beautiful book.

I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this at all. There were plenty of "awww" moments, a decent story and a hawt lead male :)
I would also be lying if I said I just absolutely loved this. There were plenty of cheese-tastic moments, a love triangle and an immaturity that was difficult to deal with at times. To a point it was hard to read a main character who was so undecided and committed to k
Jan 05, 2011 Penny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
I was a junior in high school when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, and I remember vividly the feeling of devastation I felt in that moment. Like so many others, I was fascinated by the space shuttle program and followed its every move. I was enraptured and inspired by Christa McAuliffe. In Taking Off, Jenny Moss has captured the essence of that period of my life with sincerity. The protagonist Annie Porter is engaging and authentic. Her story is specific to a particular time and place, ye ...more
Well, that was slightly disappointing and very anti-climatic.

I had this book on my shelf for awhile now, but for some reason decided to randomly pick it up. While it was a decently good read and was pretty quick to get through, there were just a few things that fell flat.

It's the late 1980s, and Annie is about to graduate high school with absolutely no idea what she wants for her future. She wants to be a poet, which is her big huge scary secret, but doesn't have confidence in herself and cares
Sep 16, 2011 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would have been a four-star book if only...

1) The event which this ENTIRE FREAKING STORY revolves around... falls flat. Flatter than flat. Flatter than the earth as people thought it would have been 700 years ago, when they thought the earth was flat. So flat that you are dumbstruck by how they could have made such an emotionally tragic event in American history sound so... flat.

2) The main character came straight out of a Mexican soap opera. Sobby characters who sob at every complicated turn
Jul 24, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember sitting in my dad’s car that day in 1986, listening to the radio news of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and feeling like it was impossible, like it couldn’t really have happened.

I knew what would happen to the shuttle before I even turned a page of TAKING OFF, but somehow, I ended up gasping when it happened all the same.

TAKING OFF is about a girl named Annie, a high school senior growing up in a community of NASA engineers but worshipping words instead of numbers, colors inst
Abby Johnson
It's 1985 in Houston, Texas and high school senior Annie has a secret. She wants to be a poet. Only, she's having a hard time admitting that to anyone, even to herself. What kind of living can you make being a poet? It seems an impossible dream. So Annie's stuck. While her best friend is going off to college next year and her boyfriend Mark wants her to stay in town and marry him, Annie is frozen by indecision. And then she meets Christa McCauliffe, an ordinary high school teacher who was chosen ...more
Kate Hastings
I look forward to reading this. I would say it was one of the most memorable events I had as a child. I loved space--wanted to go to space camp, subscribed to space magazines and lived at the planetarium when I was in 5th grade. Our class watched the shuttle-- Christa was the embodiment of every teacher and student in America. We were with her... and I still tear up thinking about it all these years later.
Jul 16, 2017 Kimmi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taking off kind of revolved around the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986, so this book is a little bit of historical fiction. In Taking off in mostly focuses on Annie's life with her divorced parents, best friend Lea, her boyfriend mark, and the new boy Tommy. While all her friends are focused on decisions after high school, Annie has had a bit more trouble on whether or not she should stay with her boyfriend in town or go to college ad explore the world more. While she meets Christa McA ...more
This one's not a solid 3 star for me, but it was close enough.

I liked TAKING OFF quite a bit. Annie reminds me a lot of who I was at 18 and a senior in high school, right down to debating whether or not I wanted to go to college because I wanted to read and write poetry instead. It was a little eerie, even. Maybe what's sort of funnier is that I think a lot of what Annie's struggling with here is stuff I still think about a lot.

However, I've a few things that didn't quite work for me, includin
Jan 18, 2011 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Most readers will know going in, either because they've learned about it or they read the jacket copy, that one of the major events in this book will be the explosion of the Challenger shuttle. But even knowing that, Moss was able to get my heart to leap into my throat when it was actually described. I was barely a year old when Challenger happened, but through Taking Off I felt like I was right there with Annie.

But remembering the Challenger and her crew (especially Christa McAuliffe) isn't the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Taking Off revolves around the Challenger space shuttle disaster in 1986 which carried the first civilian on board: teacher Christa McAuliffe. High schooler Annie lives in Clear Lake, TX, home of the NASA's training center, and meets Christa at a dinner hosted by one her friend's NASA-employed parents. Annie feels immediately inspired by the teacher's enthusiasm for life. Annie herself is shy and indecisive. She doesn't have plans for college but wants to be a poet, which for some reason terrifi ...more
Alright. I was originally drawn to this book because of how it focuses on the Challenger explosion. I don't know a whole lot about it. I mean, I didn't live through it, and my history classes never got past like, Kennedy's assassination. So I never really got to see how it impacted people of the time. (Well, until I talk to my mom about it.)

I read this because I wanted more context in those areas. I wanted to feel like I was in 1986 and I was seeing all of this happen, getting wrapped up in the
Jan 19, 2011 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a truly enjoyable read, and I'm taking it to school tomorrow to pass along to a science teacher who's an avid reader (yay!). Sure, it's not strictly science-

I was a tiny bit reluctant to pick up this book at first, just because I knew what happened to Christa McAuliffe and the space shuttle and knew I would kind of dread that event until it happened in the story. I'm not going into too much detail, just in case you're unfamiliar with what happened (which is entirely possible--not many o
Beth G.
No one labels me as an eccentric, but that's because they don't know what's in my heart.

In the late Fall of 1985, Annie is a high school senior in suburban Houston, and her comfortable life is on the verge of being completely upended. Her best friend wants her to go to college in Austin with her. Her boyfriend of two years wants her to stay in town with him. Her mother wants her to be friendlier to Donald, her mother's boyfriend. Annie isn't sure what she wants, except that she wants to be a poe
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
A wonderful read that intertwines growing up, falling in love, and finding yourself centered around the story of the Challenger. I really liked the way Jenny Moss created such a believable contemporary around such a tragic event. Jenny does a suburb job at taking her readers back to that fateful day in 1986 when a team of astronauts, including school teacher Christa McAullife where to embark on a mission of a life time. Fulfilling her dream of watching the challenger take off is Annie, a senior ...more
Oct 14, 2010 Danna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was born ten years after the Challenger accident, so this subject was brand new to me. It starts off with the reader learning about Annie’s life in “spacey” Texas where she has the seemingly best boyfriend and the awesome best friend. That friend, Lea, invites her to her mother’s dinner party where soon to be teachernaut Christa McCauliffe would be. She accepts and later talks to Christa at the party. I thought that Christa was magnificently portrayed in this novel. Through Annie, I got to exp ...more
A coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of the space shuttle Challenger tragedy, I'm totally in love with the concept of this book. Annie is a vivid character struggling to figure out what she wants to do after senior year. She's from a small town in Texas ruled by NASA, she's been dating her boyfriend for two years and been friends with him for even longer, and her best friend seems to know exactly where she's going. In fact, everyone seems to know what Annie should do with her life exce ...more
Mar 21, 2011 Sherry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Taking Off, Annie gets to meet the infamous Christa McAuliffe, the first teachernaut who will go into space. Annie is inspired by Christa's energy and ambition, and hopes that it will help her with her own confusion about her life. Annie lives near Houston, Texas. A city full of engineers, scientists, and astronauts. Annie's dream, however, is not to be any of these careers. She dreams of being a poet and teaching others about poetry. She dreams of traveling the world and looking at Vincent V ...more
Feb 11, 2011 Debbie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-teen
I was in 3rd grade when the Challenger disaster occurred. Like so many other kids that day, my class watched the launch live on TV. I don't remember much about it - except that the girl in my class who wanted to be an astronaut was crying, and we felt bad for her - but even after 25 years, the name Christa McAuliffe has stuck with me.

Chosen from over 11,000 applicants to be the first private citizen and school teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe is the inspiration of this story. It is her zest f
Apr 26, 2011 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed this better than average coming of age story, which is set during the time of the Challenger shuttle disaster.

In her hometown of Clear Lake, Texas, Annie meets Christa, the teacher who has been chosen to go into space. Annie is so impressed and influenced by Christa that she convinces her father to take her to Florida to view the shuttle launch. Along the way she learns about herself and finds herself questioning the direction her life is heading. Will she decide t
Apr 22, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, 2012
I'm kind of in mourning over the fact that a story that takes place in the year I was born is considered historical fiction. Sigh. So sad.

But the book itself? Really pretty good. The beginning didn't grab me; in fact, the dialogue was so unoriginal, I could have written it myself. (I don't care if that's the way we humans talk, I want to read more than, "Hello." "Hi." "Yeah, all right." "Uh-huh." "Okay." "Sure. Sure." Maybe if I had been listening to it, it wouldn't have been so bad.)

And no
Mar 14, 2011 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-books-2011
The are certain events where people can always tell you where they weere the moment it happened. And the Challenger explosion is one of those moments for me. I remember being in the library science building at Kutztown Univerxity with my fellow librarinas-to-be and watching in horror. Reading this book and reeading that particular scene made me realize how doubly horrifying it must have been to be there zo close watching the launch. I love how author JennyMoss showed how Christa Mcauliffe did to ...more
Marisa Whitaker
I liked this book. I didn't LOVE it, but i liked it a medium amount. Premise is a 17 year old girl who is fascinated by Chrsita McAuliffe, and with the "teacher in space" program. To her, it's more than the actual flying to space. It's symbolic of not being afraid to pursue your dreams. Not being afraid to let go of comfort, and what you know, to dare to follow dreams, and be uncomfortable.

Great message, but probably could have been written a little better in parts-got a little long winded.
Jun 22, 2011 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written book that honors the memory of Space Shuttle Challeger teacher Christa McCauliffe and the other passengers on the doomed flight. The main character is likeable and portrayed like many teens that are nearing the end of high school and are unsure of the future. A look into the space program during the 80's without being overly technical.

Read more of my review by clicking the link below, where I write about Children's Fiction for
Mar 28, 2016 Alyssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It was a book about finding yourself with a little bit of history thrown in. The main character is in high school and she is preparing for the real world. She decides to take a trip to see the Challenger launch and discovers her fascination of ordinary people like, Christa McAuliffe, pursuing their dreams and achieving great things. I read it pretty quickly as the words flow easily and I loved the journey.
May 17, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a senior, Annie Porter, has many decisions to make. Should she continue on the path that seems set for her or should she explore other career and educational goals? Will she have the courage to reach for her dreams? One thing is for certain. She wants to view the lunch of the Challenger as it carries Christa McAuliffe, who she has met, into space. Her journey to Florida is full of experiences,including the Challenger trajedy, that inspire Annie to reach for new dreams.
Jul 02, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One thing that I loved about this book was it's historical aspect. This book got me interested in the Challenger and I ended up researching it. It is really sad that Christa passed away because she seems like the type of person you would want to meet. I liked that Annie didn't have everything together, she was still trying to figure herself out. I liked the book but it wasn't spectacular, I don't think it is something that I would read again.
Apr 22, 2011 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. A cute coming of age story based in 1985 around a NASA town. The main girl is struggling to decide her future and decides to be adventurous for once and go see the Challenger space shuttle take off. My one complaint was her disproportional grief at the tragedy of the Challenger. But fortunately she tones it down quickly enough that you aren't left thinking she's psycho. It is actually written by a former NASA engineer who worked on the Challenger...but it is just a cute book.
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Jenny Moss lives in Texas and writes.

She is the author of SHADOW (Scholastic Press) and WINNIE'S WAR and TAKING OFF (Walker/Bloomsbury). She also writes under her birth name, Jennifer McKissack (the YA Gothic SANCTUARY, Scholastic Press).
More about Jenny Moss...

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“Writing poetry felt silly, not practical. It was poetry. I wasn't exploring space here. But it felt necessary to me.” 2 likes
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