Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Love, Ish

Happy Book Birthday, Love, Ish

I have to admit, I love brussel sprouts.  Roasted with salt and pepper.  Last weekend, I even had brussel sprout chips at a restaurant.  Imagine the work involved in peeling those things? For now, I think I will continue to enjoy them definitely as I see them through different eyes after reading Love, Ish by Karen Rivers. What am I referring to? You have to read this savory book to find out!

"I guess I love you."  What does that mean?  As adults we don't really know, so imagine getting that in an email at 13.  Mischa "Ish" Love's best and only friend, Tig, moved away and she has been waiting for an email from him for months.  In fact it's been so long that she refers to him as DTM, Dead to Me. Then when an email finally does ping in her inbox, that sentence is included. What a way to get a young girl to wonder.

Ish is ready to move to Mars, literally.  Life here on Earth isn't so great for her and she thinks she would be the perfect candidate for the Mars Now project.  Yes, she has applied 47 times and can recite as many facts as you can imagine about Mars, Martians and outer space.  The name of her parrot is even appropriately named: Buzz Aldrin.  Ish is so ready for Mars that she has already created lists of "Things I Will Miss" (TIWM) and "Things I Will Not Miss" (TIWNM) when she is chosen for her mission.  Some things on the TIWM list are:  TV, ice cream, Buzz Aldrin. Things on the TIWNM: mosquitoes, wasps, shopping malls, plastic water bottles and school.

Yes, school.  Without Tig around, Ish has no one. The very first day of seventh grade doesn't start out well at all.  "Move it, nerd!" "Loser" and later in the day, "She's wet her pants" from Fish-boy, the new student.

After finding out she has a brain tumor, Ish dreams more of Mars, hanging out with Tig and her family.

"In my dream, I'm crying because I'm dead and I'm on Mars, 
I made it to Mars and I did something dumb and I died, 
once again before I was finished, 
before I had done what I meant to do."

Does Ish accomplish what she is meant to do? Find a new friend? Reconcile with her sisters?  Accept the realities of the Mars Now?  Simply survive?  I read this book in one day with my teeth clenched and my eyes glued to the pages.  I'm not an astronomy fan and yet I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Part The Thing about Jellyfish and a pre-The Fault in Our Stars, anyone who understands Mars, has dreams like Ish to be on this list of greats (Valentina Tereshkova, Samantha Cristoforetti, Liu Yang, Ellen Ochoa, Mae Jamison, Sally Ride...) will truly get even more out of it than this I-guess-I-love-you NASA fan.

ps-I can't put my finger on it, well maybe I can, but I really wanted to get to know Gavriel "Gav" better.  Sometimes authors take a minor character and build their next book around him or her.  I'm already craving a book about Gav.

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