Review: TAKING OFF by Jenny Moss

Posted 20 January, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 2 Comments

FINAL GRADE: 87/B
320 pages

YA Historical (I guess you call the 80’s historical…makes me cringe a bit to say it though!)
Available now
Review copy purchased
Rated PG
Reimagining the days surrounding this unforgettable event in history, readers are brought back to 1986 as the astronauts prepare for the Challenger mission, and Christa McAullife trains to be the first teacher in space. When a teen named Annie meets Christa, she is fascinated by Christa’s courage. Truly inspired, Annie is determined to make it to Florida to see the Challenger launch, a trip that will forever change how she thinks about herself and her secret desire for her own future. Although she is devastated when tragedy strikes, Annie honors Christa by following her own dream, despite the obstacles. Bringing in her experience as a NASA engineer, Jenny Moss weaves a moving story that recaptures the inspiration teens must have felt years ago as they watched Christa McAuliffe reach for the sky.
My Thoughts: 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 of my 8th graders know much, if anything, about it).
Anyway, I really liked it! Annie’s a great character who, like many high school seniors, isn’t really sure of what she wants to do with her life. Back in the 80’s, there was a super-strong push for *everyone* to go to college but Annie really likes her life the way it is and doesn’t know if she wants to go to college. It doesn’t help that her long-time boyfriend just wants to travel and surf.
But then she meets Christa McAuliffe at a dinner party her friend’s parents, her life takes a completely different direction. She’s entranced by Christa and, after the dinner, is determined to go to the launch. 
This choice changes the course of Annie’s life. Taking her on the road trip is her quirky father and his co-worker, Tommy, a super-hot college dropout (with potential!). I really liked all of the characters in this book. They were interesting, well-developed and had purpose and importance in Annie’s journey. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good road trip story.

Of course, it made me cry, too. Yes, tissue was employed. Twice! TAKING OFF is a fabulous journey of self-discovery. (And I really like the cover, too–suits the story.)

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2 Responses to “Review: TAKING OFF by Jenny Moss”

  1. Sounds great *goes add to list of to buy*

    Thanks for the lovely review, I hadn’t heard of this book before.

    And I don’t think the 80’s are that historical, I was… like 2 years old in 86, so I really hope it’s not historical 😀

  2. Wow, I hadn’t heard of this book either. Honestly I’m not sure if I can read it. I was in the 4th grade when this happened and believe it or not, our teacher was very good friends with Krista. She came to visit our class once and we (like I’m sure many other students) wrote her letters cheering her on. But the look that crossed my teachers face that morning as we were watching live in the classroom and she realized what had just occurred, right before she ran out of the room crying and leaving us all there stunned and confused. I will never forget that look. Or that moment.