Young Adult - Sci-Fi
160 Pages
Reviewed on 07/23/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Jodi Scarfield is off to Mars. It’s more than just an adventure. Her father has been working at Anphobos, a colony on Mars, for over a year and now Jodi and her mother are joining him. Jodi doesn’t really want to go. At sixteen, Jodi would rather stay on Earth where she has friends and she’s connected online with other computer geeks to wreak havoc on government computers. Little does she realize that she’ll be able to use her hacking skills on even more impressive high tech equipment while she’s living on Mars. And the best part is that she only has to attend school two days a week! When she quite literally bumps into the cutest Martian, Jules, little does she know that this chance encounter at the monorail station will lead to her inadvertently becoming involved in a Martian rebel plot to overthrow the government of Anphobos and a threat on her own life.

Rebecca Bloomer’s young adult science fiction novel, UnEarthed, is a fast paced, action filled drama. The main character, Jodi, is a typical teenager in many ways, but also a brilliant mind with a real knack for hacking anything high tech. The interchange between Jodi and her parents sets the stage for a genuine story about relationships. But this is much more. While Jodi tries to make friends and fit into a new home on a new planet, she fast-tracks her learning and ability to manipulate the technology around her to create and adapt to her own space. The unsettling ‘rebel’ involvement and so-called peaceful rallies suggest to the reader another ‘rebel’ cause in a new colony and the reader almost expects a boat-load of tea to be dumped into the ocean. Only, in Jodi’s case, it was almost an entire collapse of the dome that protected her and everyone living in Anphobos from the cruel Martian elements beyond. A thrilling read.

Mark ODwyer

'No one can predict the future, Jodi Scarfield .The universe is possessed of infinite possibility and you're exploring just one.'

But Jodi is whisked away from hacking into the Earth government security systems to another world entirely by her mother who, knowing nothing of her daughter's activities, wants to join her husband on Mars.  A four months' journey follows.

"Not night black, this was space black, a deep, scary kind of darkness that came with emptiness."

As they close on their destination, Jodi reflects on certain personal matters about shuttle travel that no-one thinks to tell you about: how your inert body gets poked about and studied both outside and inside by the shuttle crew, for instance, and the extraordinary amount of body hair that can grow in four months. And then, after a near accident, they have landed. And her parent's renewal of domestic bliss is not quite going to plan.

" So here you are on a war god planet being circled by Fear and Dread.' (i.e. Mars and it's moons Phobos and Deimos.Mars is rampant in our popular culture. Scientists and film makers can't leave the red planet alone. Explorers played by Val Kilmer and Matt Damon have been cinematically abandoned there. Billionaires are selling one way tickets for a voyage there of dubious value. And surely we have all, at least once, imagined ourselves able to live on another planet a big protective bubble, protected by every kind of engineering wonder.

' It was supposed to be a colony but could anything human really survive in world where even the fish were organised?'

But have we actually thought it through? What about how precious the water will be, how short your shower is going to be? What about how the small population of an isolated colony is bound to reinvent  social conventions, transport, education, clothes? Did we forget that there is going to be ugly politics no matter where we go?

Jodi is still absorbing the features of her new life with the help of her new friend Astrid when she runs into Jules. More accurately, he keeps sneaking up behind her. We readers realise this can't be good. Jules' good looks almost turn Jodi's head. But there is something about Jules ...

I particularly liked Jodi for being realistically naive about her new home, as easily impressed by appearances as all of us, as frightened as any one would be in a desperate situation, but always able - with the minds-eye of a code hacker - to spot glitches in patterns, including of human behaviour, that give her warning signs of trouble.  If only she would act on them a touch faster than she does!

A breathless adventure that is grounded (yes, grounded- there's gravity under that dome) in a plethora of fascinating insights into interplanetary life. I also loved the cover by Kerem Dogus.

Rebecca Boomer has followed up Unearthed with Unearthly which picks up with Jodi and her friend Astrid 18 months later