Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review: Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

Release Date: February 23, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Createspace
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Facebook

Seventeen-year-old Retta Heikkinen is in love with a boy--a thoroughly gorgeous, captivating, and mysterious boy known as Hemingway. The situation is rather ideal: he likes her, she likes him. There's just one little problem.
He's a blue heart, an android.
Being in a relationship is its own complicated mess, but how long can a forbidden love last? Soon Retta discovers a secret that could destroy the uneasy truce between the blue hearts and humans, which makes life under the domes on Mars possible. Would exposing what she knows make things better or worse? And how can she know for certain without exposing the secret?

The blurb just doesn't do this book justice! After reading it, I wasn't expecting much beyond a dry sci-fi story about androids on Mars, but Retta's voice was actually really funny. She's an overly-dramatic hormonal teenager, but her saving grace is that she knows it. Her inner monologue is filled with lots of eye-rolling that she directs at herself for being...well, an overly-dramatic hormonal teenager. Her observations about herself and everyone around her was absolutely my favorite thing about this book. 

The story is set hundreds of years in the future on Mars.
Because you couldn't have figured that part out on your own, right? 
Mars has seceded from Earth, but the planets are on friendly terms at this point. Sort of like the the U.S and England, maybe? Originally, the planet was was made habitable by using metal machine-like androids that could withstand the harsh environment. No one is sure when it happened, but the androids that live on the planet now are almost impossible to distinguish from humans. However, if you look closely enough you can find their tells. Even though they live, work, and go to school with humans, they don't have any of the same rights or protection under the law. Humans are raised to believe androids (or Blue Hearts) are nothing more than soulless machines that should be happy they are allowed to exist at all. Why should they have rights?

Retta is still in high school when the story opens. She's a typical teenage girl whose main concerns are how to afford cool clothes and gadgets.
Gadgets?! Did I just write that? 
Shit. I've officially turned into my grandmother.
"You kids and your new-fangled doohickeys...tsk, tsk."
Anyway, Rhetta is pretty unconcerned with the world around her, until she meets Hemingway. She knows he's an android, but something about him intrigues her (I'm going to go out on a limb, and say it's because he's super-hot.). Over a cup of coffee, the Insta-Lovebug bites both of them pretty hard, and they decide to start dating. Which is a huge deal in their society, because dating an android is not just looked down upon, it's actually illegal. But the story would have only been about ten pages long if these two crazy kids didn't decide to buck the system, right?
To hell with the rules, we love each other!
Retta starts out clueless to the way androids are treated, but as their relationship progresses, she realizes that androids are more heavily persecuted than she ever imagined. Watching what Hemingway has to endure on a daily basis breaks her heart and opens her eyes. The more injustice she's exposed to, the more she wants to change things for all androids. But if she can't even convince her own father that Hemingway is human in every way that matters, what chance does she have to change an entire planet's bigotry?

They tough it out for a while, but eventually Hemingway breaks up with Retta to keep her safe. Brokenhearted, she is determined to find anything might be able to help them stay together. Even though he won't have anything to do with her anymore, she and a friend break into the building that 'builds' the androids (ok, I admit this part is fairly implausible, given that they are both high school students with no special 'spy' training), and manage to download shocking documents about what the company plans to do with androids.
Unfortunately, before she can do anything with the information...The Zombie Apocalypse Begins!
But how cool would that have been?!
Seriously, I don't want to give any more of the plot away, because it's well worth reading for yourself. I will say that in the end there's a great twist revealed that changes everything. Everything!
Still no zombies, though.
Oh well, you can't have it all...


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