A Rover's Story

by Jasmine Warga (Author)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

The One and Only Ivan meets The Wild Robot in this unique and deeply moving middle grade novel about the journey of a fictional Mars rover, from the Newbery Honor-winning author of Other Words for Home.

Meet Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name. Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop human-like feelings. Maybe there's a problem with his programming....

Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars's difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration. As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage--and resilience--to succeed...and survive?

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
The intelligences here may be (mostly) artificial, but the feelings are genuine and deep.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Rendered with philosophical internality, this touching, fact-filled novel by Warga (The Shape of Thunder) centers the maturation of gutsy Mars rover Resilience, "built to be an unbiased observer," alongside that of Sophie, child to one of Res's NASA scientist creators. The narration alternates between Res's account of gearing up for and executing a high-stakes Mars mission, and letters written to him by Sophie as she ages from sixth grader to adult. In the lab, Res's fascination with humans results in the robot internalizing non-programmed concepts, including preferences, desire, gladness, jealousy, and trust. Paired with a drone, Fly, on the journey to Mars, Res encounters imperious satellite Guardian, treacherous dust storms, and the worrisome thought of never returning to Earth. Sophie's letters reveal her envy of how Res's project monopolizes her mother, but also her eventual realization of Res's importance and the connection she feels to him. Res's initially musing narration accelerates on Mars's unfamiliar terrain, punctuated by funny banter as Res lives up to his name while showing that feelings are as valuable as logic. Occasional b&w artwork by Rockefeller (Poesy the Monster Slayer) emphasizes the robots' mission; Sophie's family speaks Arabic and has light brown skin. Ages 8-12. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Book Group. (Oct.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"As a mechanical engineer and STEM-lover, this beautiful book filled my heart right to the top. Res may be a rover, but he taught me what it means to be fully alive." — Christina Soontornvat, two-time Newbery Honor recipient

What a Way to combine Robotics w/Great Story!

Edit Your Review

I loved reading A Rover's Story! Jasmine's depiction of "Res", the Mars Rover was masterfully accomplished. Edge of your seat meets empathy and love + Science! A must Read.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Publication date
October 04, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039220 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Values & Virtues
JUV056000 - Juvenile Fiction | Robots
JUV053020 - Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction | Space Exploration
JUV036010 - Juvenile Fiction | Technology | Astronauts & Space
Library of Congress categories

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