Primary Genre(s): Middle Grade, STEM
Published: 1 Jun 2020 by Keyes Canyon Press
Page count: 218
My Format: eARC via NetGalley
Would I recommend it: Absolutely
Commission Link: Buy The Science of Defying Gravity
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY is a middle-grade STEM based fiction. Eleven year old Cassie films her life. She loves movies and dreams of becoming a movie director in space. When her plans to go to Space Camp are derailed by the closing of the plant her dad works for she must win a science fair to earn a scholarship to attend. Spunk, a caring teacher, an engineering mentor and her friends keep her dream on track.
Contained within THE SCIENCE OF DEFYING GRAVITY is an actual science fair project, including tables and charts for kids to see. The project covers the four forces of flight—lift, thrust, gravity and drag—which are embedded in the fictional story but are factually accurate and have been verified by working engineers and engineering students.
Yeah!! Another STEM book! I’m always excited to find STEM books to read and review. Here are my pros and cons for The Science of Defying Gravity:
- Cassie is an awesome kid who learned a lot about herself in this book. She has some lofty ambitions (to be a movie director in space – isn’t that just super cool!?) and she understands she will have to learn about space and essentially become an astronaut to accomplish her dreams. The problem is that Cassie is not interested in science at all and everyone keeps telling her she’ll need to be good at science to achieve her dream. So Cassie becomes super determined to make changes and prove to everyone she can learn to like and understand science… and she does! I love a girl with a purpose!
- Cassie stepped up and made a conscious decision to improve her understanding of science. She learned that taking good notes and paying attention in class (instead of daydreaming) really did help her to understand difficult concepts! Imagine that?? She came to not only understand the concepts taught in her science class, but to actually like science!
- Cassie’s parents promised her a trip to Space Camp, but when her Dad lost his job the trip was no longer an option financially. But Cassie was determined to find a way there anyway. I loved that Cassie never gave up, despite her failures and setbacks. Her grit and determination was inspiring.
- The relationships in the book felt genuine to me and probably relatable to a lot of kids. The parents are generally stressed and experiencing financial difficulties, and Cassie’s brothers are a constant nuisance to her (particularly the oldest brother). However, they all sit down to dinner together every evening and talk about their day. It was obvious to me that the parents cared about what was going on, even if they didn’t have the opportunity to concentrate on the kids all the time.
- I think the science behind Cassie’s project (the forces of flight) was presented in a way that would be understandable and interesting to most kids and particularly to ones already interested in STEM fields. The information is detailed enough that a student could even replicate the project for themselves. And paper airplanes are fun!
- There are graphs and charts! Real data is used! I loved that!
- The little crush between Cassie and her friend Wylie was really sweet and totally innocent. I’m glad the romance actually stayed in the background of the story though. Cassie had work to do and didn’t need that kind of distraction! 🙂
- I can’t tell you how much I loved that the story had a happy ending despite Cassie’s setbacks. It is a great lesson to learn that you may not always be successful in the way that you want, but hard work always pays off somehow!
- If I had one nitpick, it would be that Cassie went from someone who initially disliked science and never paid attention in class, to someone who became quite astute and amazingly perceptive with regard to what she was studying (forces of flight). At one point she randomly wondered if Newton’s 3rd law applied to her project! That is impressive, but it didn’t feel quite realistic considering her initial apathy toward science in general.
Overall I think this was a very well-rounded story! It wasn’t just about STEM subjects, but also about middle school angst, crushes, school pressure, family dynamics, expectations, hopes and dreams, failures, successes, and never giving up. I think middle grade students and educators will love this book and I hope a lot of kids read it and get interested in science fairs and STEM fields and maybe even going to space themselves!
Thank you NetGalley and Keyes Canyon Press for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Science of Defying Gravity. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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(image from Goodreads)