'A Rover's Story' Book Club: Day 3 [end]By: OwlCrate Jr Photo By: @babs.books
“ I want a message that says: If you explore this, you will have proved you are worth it. But I will not get that message. It is up to me to decide. And I am deciding to explore.”
Welcome to the third and final day of OwlCrate Jr's Book Club, hosted by Cheryl of And Other Tales! This month we are reading A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga.
PART THREE: Our Mission & Return
So off Res and Fly go to recover Courage, but it’s slow going. In fact, it will take Res over one Earth year to make it to Courage’s location! Along the way Res continues to test soil samples, send photos and sound recordings and of course search for fossils that will be his ticket back home.
They rove and rove, Fly and Guardian bicker and squabble, Fly invents songs, Res invents a new phrase “Zappedty Zip” and then one day, Res gets stuck. No matter how much his wheels spin, he can’t move forward. He can’t see the obstruction. His internal scanning reveals no known problems. Res panics. He doesn’t want to get caught in a dust storm and suffer the same fate as Courage - and the team can see a dust storm well off in the distance. Fly flies out to see if he can locate the problem, but cannot and after much screeching and grinding of wheels, Guardian suggests Res tries moving sideways … and he does! He is finally unstuck!!
Res quickly moves him and Fly to safety and out of the path of the oncoming dust storm. But things take a bad turn once again when Res decides to go off course (and against NASA command) to explore a mesa cave area, determined it will have fossils or signs of water. Along the way an unexpected dust tornado hits while Fly is in the air and he crashes, suffering major damage to his camera. Res fixes him as best he can and decides to abandon the journey to the mesa and instead to go find Courage. Just before he leaves the area, he picks up some rock samples that appear to be Basaltic in nature - this could be his ticket home!
Meanwhile, Sophie continues to grow up. Struggling through grade eight and friendship dynamics and onto high school. But we also learn Rania is sick and undergoing treatments that keep her from working at NASA full time.
Res finds Courage but Courage’s system is blank. There is no information. Res tries and tries - 209 times in fact, but there is nothing. This really upsets Res. He wonders what the point is of his existence - why collect all this information if he too will someday just be blank? He is determined to find something even better than his rock sample to ensure he and Fly can go back to Earth and off he returns to the rock formation.
This is a dangerous journey, with the command center, Guardian and Fly all asking Res to stop. But Res is determined that the sounds he hears from this cave are important and since “rovers aren’t built to last forever” he is determined to make the most of his time. Just before the cave mouth Res gets stuck again - so close to his goal! Fly flies out to see what the problem is but cannot. Luckily Res is able to reach out his long arm and drill some rock samples, but this drilling triggers a rock slide and Res falls. He suffers major damage and goes off line.
Sophie’s letters fill us in on what is happening in the aftermath. Res is officially offline, suffering catastrophic damage from his fall. For many years Rania goes into remission and is determined to form a fundraising mission to recover Res, but then she gets sick again. Very sick. And it is unclear what the fate of Res will be.
17 years have passed. Res wakes up - to see Xander’s face! He has been recovered!! Sadly he cannot see Rania. He learns, over time, that he is in a museum next to Journey (yay!) but that Fly was not recovered from Mars. He spends his days talking to Journey, watching museum goers - finally learning what a sixth grader is! - and remembering his friend Fly. Our story ends with a special couple of visitors - Rania and Sophie! Res sees he has made Rania very proud indeed and finally knows that he did it, he had a successful mission.
- This was a very heartfelt ending. How did you feel at the end? What moments touched you the most?
- The central theme to this story, for me, was emotional awareness. Through Res, we the reader are able to analyze, feel, and hopefully put a name to our own emotions. I definitely resonated with Res’ desire to make others proud and his anxious nature. Were there any emotions Res faced that connected most with you?
- It could be argued that if Res hadn’t developed human emotion he wouldn’t have attempted the climb that led to his fall as the cons would’ve outweighed the pros. In the end, do you think Res’ emotions did make him a better rover? Why or why not?