Book Talk: The Disasters by M.K. England

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: The Disasters by M.K. EnglandThe Disasters by M.K. England
Published by HarperTeen on December 18, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.

But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.

On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.

They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.

So yeah, let’s mention the elephant in the spaceship (and don’t ask me why I have an elephant on my spaceship; it’s none of your business): The Disasters doesn’t publish until the very end of the year. Like, this book is a Christmas present from HarperCollins to the world, my friends, and everyone knows you’re supposed to review books no sooner than a month ahead of publication as a general rule. Welllll, clearly, I’m ignoring that.

I’ve been doing this thing where I choose from all my egalleys randomly so sometimes I read forthcoming ones and sometimes ones that are a year old (I clearly have this shit under control). I was super excited to read The Disasters because Dahlia said it was a Christina book, which hells yeah can be counted on to believe that it will be a Christina book. Since I read this book in early July, I didn’t really want to hold the post til November, because I’ll remember basically nothing by then. PLUS, I sort of love advance reviews sometimes because hype has to come from somewhere. Even if I do have a complicated relationship with hype. Whatever.

My point is: GET HYPED ABOUT THE DISASTERS!!!!!

The Disasters is that funny, irreverent, misfit crew sci-fi novel you’ve been waiting for. And if you haven’t been waiting for something like that, I’m kind of not sure why you’re here right now, because we’re clearly on super different wavelengths (jk—mostly). The Disasters feels to me like the lovechild between Firefly and Katie Kennedy’s What Goes Up (which admittedly England could not possibly have read before writing this but whatever I will make the comparisons I want).

Sometimes I read YA books, and you can tell that the author is dismissive of YA in general or of their subject matter, and it’s always the absolute worst. The Disasters is the opposite of that. You can basically feel the love England has for her subject matter and YA pouring out of the pages of this book. The Firefly references are myriad but subtle; if you know the show, they’re obvious and delightful, but if you don’t you won’t be missing anything don’t worry.

This is probably about the fluffiest book about the potential end of worlds ever, and I totally dig that. Don’t get me wrong: there’s constant action and a bunch of people get shot, and some scary shit goes down, but somehow I basically had to smile through the whole book? It’s funny so often and in such great and unexpected ways that the main reaction I came away from this book with was joy. Like, there’s this scene in the final battle that had me laughing so hard, because it was so creative and silly and wonderful.

It’s also a little bit like Breakfast Club in space, only instead of getting detention they all got rejected from a fancy space academy and instead of having to write a paper some people at the academy try to kill them. So okay maybe it’s not actually that much like The Breakfast Club. But it is about this group of teens from different backgrounds and specialties who are thrown together, which is absolutely one of my fave plot set-ups.

Without a doubt, The Disasters has one of the most diverse casts I’ve ever encountered. Pretty much everyone is non-white, and the book’s not heteronormative which is awesome sauce. The bulk of the people encountered in the book are Muslim, which is totally beautiful and, though I can’t comment on the rep at all, it seemed very respectful. Also, there are a bunch of women in powerful roles being total bamfs, and the girls in the group are acknowledged as smartest and strongest. Basically, all of this was just another aspect of the book that made me feel so damn happy.

The MC, Nax, is an adorable, flirtatious little cinnamon roll, and I adore him. He’s a complete goober who veers between total cockiness and abject insecurity, which is very relatable and should be annoying but comes off so charming. I also love how he’s always lowkey scoping people out like “hello are you hot do i have a shot?” because that’s what being a teen is like sometimes okay (not that I relate at allll). There’s also something sort of Harry Potter-ish about Nax, because he’s the leader because he’s the pilot thus the captain but he’s actually not that great at strategy and super could not take down an evil plot alone.

The rest of the cast is pretty precious too: Rion, Z, Case, and some other people you won’t meet til later. There’s this super chill bisexual love triangle between Nax, Rion, and Case that I really loved. Like, some of you are probably thinking you shouldn’t read this because oh no love triangle, but seriously it’s not a big drama thing. There’s constant level-setting like hey we’re in a time crunch so maybe we should not worry about this drama right now, but also they’re all being pretty mature and friendly about it which <3. Obviously I’m all about huge romance feels, and I admittedly would have liked more romance, but I do love how it’s not this all-consuming thing; Nax has crushes not epic love because he’s a teen and they all met like days ago. The characterization and feels could have been amped if the book were a bit longer, but I did very much care for the whole cast.

The Disasters is one heck of a debut novel. Packed full of humor and charm, you will not want to miss this bundle of happiness.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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