Mars Girl

Mars Girl Cover
Mars Girls
Mary Turzillo
Young Adult Fiction
Apex Publications
May 23, 2017
314

"Mary Turzillo has crafted an extraordinary tale of teenaged adventure on a harsh planet. Heroines Nanoannie and Kapera use bravery and ingenuity to survive on a vividly imagined future Mars." —Brenda Cooper, author of Edge of Dark "Mars Girls delivers real-feeling characters in a fast-moving, exciting space adventure." —Kij Johnson, author of The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe "Great fun! A rollicking adventure across a uniquely imagined Martian landscape." —S Andrew Swann, author of Dragon Princess "Uniquely qualified to write about both Mars and humanity, Mary Turzillo has conjured up an intriguingly intricate plot filled with plenty of adventure, engagingly fresh and memorable characters, and provocative ideas." —Stanley Schmidt, Hugo Award-winning editor Nanoannie is bored. She wants to go to clubs, wear the latest Earth fashions, and dance with nuke guys. But her life is not exciting. She lives on her family's Pharm with her parents, little sister, and a holo-cat named Fuzzbutt. The closest she gets to clubs are on the Marsnet. And her parents are pressuring her to sign her contract over to Utopia Limited Corp before she's even had a chance to live a little. When Kapera—a friend from online school—shows up at her Pharm asking for help, Nanoannie is quick to jump in the rover and take off. Finally an adventure! What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe's Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn't bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don't know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it. Life isn't easy when you're just a couple of Mars Girls.

I got this book from Apex via their Apex Minions program in trade for an honest review

Diversity: Kapera is black as is her parents. There are a few side character that are Asian? Maybe. It’s hard to tell their true culture as the author seems to have mashed this culture with that culture.

The first thing that put me off to this book is the piles of jargon they dump on you. We have hab-rat, mears, cuys, kweez and a ton others. While there is some explanation for some of them, you forget it by the time the next one has come up.

Another thing that majorly put me off was the rape part later on in the book. It’s basically “we have to rape you to repopulate stuff”. This is due to the Facer religion who have “face bindis” on their heads. Not sure if it’s cultural appropriation however it made me face palm. A face bindi is a tiny face on the head that usually shows the true emotions of the wearer.
So these Facers basically want to go back to Earth and start some colony or something, I was confused about where they were going but it was going to take 100 years to get there.

So of course Nanoannie, one of our heroes, has to be forcibly married to someone so he can rape her and she can get pregnant. Fortunately she’s married to a guy that doesn’t have an interest in her as she has no interest in him. However it implies both with the men leering at the unwilling women in the church and later with just mentioning the other women, that they are raped.
I should mention that Nanoannie is around 14 years old. Yeah.

Next is Kapera. She has leukemia so a good portion of the book she is unconscious. The only black character with a major speaking part is devoiced for a good portion of the book. I rally can’t recall why she’s important to the book other than having a micro disc and her relationship to her parents who are the research scientists.
She’s also not “African” but the jargon term “Kiafrican” which is not explained how that came about.

Overall I’m not really sure what the major plot is as the duo is kidnapped and escapes capture many times. It really isn’t until the middle of the book the plot seems to appear. Given the many names and corporation name drops it’s really hard to follow who is with who.

What really killed any final interest in this is when Nanoannie has Kapera wrist-com and types out in bad phoneticish words. It was hard to read, and with the “hic” when she has hiccups in the cuy ball every line,I just stopped caring.

It doesn’t really strongly establish it’s characters from the start so trying to remember what’s going on is hard. It also like to borrow and mash up different cultures and has a good portion that is a rape plot.

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