Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review: Ginnie Dare by Scott Roche

Science fiction is on the upswing in the teen market, and I think that's a good thing. While strict fantasy has always been my first love (thanks, Tolkien), I cut my teeth on science fiction too. I've been stretched as a writer and as an individual by wonderful and challenging writers such as Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Ursula LeGuin, and Robert Heinlein. And when I see other writers stepping up to write sci-fi for the teen audience, I'm thrilled about it.

Ginnie Dare: Crimson Sands by Scott Roche is in that category, and it's a great read for young readers. Refreshingly, Ginnie Dare is a space adventure, with an alien encounter, rather than another dystopian novel. I love a good dystopia as much as anybody, but it's fair to say they are flooding the market right now. Yet there are so many other subgenres of sci-fi. It's good to see Scott Roche playing in one of them. He does a fine job.

The protagonist of the story, Ginnie, is a bright young girl (15, I think) who wants a career in military intelligence. She's gifted at coding and decoding things, and solving puzzles and mysteries. And boy, does she get a mystery to solve, because when she arrives with her father and their merchant crew at a small colony to drop off supplies, she discovers the colonists are missing and the aliens on the planet are demanding the return of something that Ginnie and her father can't identify, much less find. It's a race to figure out what happened to the colonists before the military boots them off the planet. And Ginnie does quite well at being in the middle of the action.

It's a fun read with a great message about choosing the right things out of life. And Ginnie is a terrific character; she's engaging, smart, determined, yet still identifiable as a typical young teen trying to figure out her world. I think readers will love her, particularly girls who want a strong, relatable, likable heroine who can have adventures without needing to be rescued by the men around her. She's no Bella Swan, in need of an Edward to complete her. But she's not a hard, closed off girl who hates the world either. She's what you want your child to be, actually... curious, healthy, with a strong sense of self. What a great female role model! I hope Scott Roche writes more about her, because I think a Ginnie Dare is much-needed in YA sci-fi today.

You can order Ginnie Dare and learn more about Scott Roche on his website. Out of all the ebooks I have read so far and reviewed here, this is one of my favorites, and I highly recommend it for the young sci-fi readers you know and love.

Now, let's chat: As a teen, did you like science fiction? Or did you prefer another genre? Who were your favorite authors, and how did they influence you? Share, share, share! (I'm nosy, and I want to know. Hahaha!)

And in final news: The winner of the Variant giveaway contest is Rebecca Ryals Russell (@vigorio on Twitter). Congratulations! A hard cover copy of Robison Wells' book is coming your way. Thanks, everyone who entered. I'll be having more contests in the future, so be sure to try again.

Copyright (c) 2012 by M.A. Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. Fantastic stuff. Roche does great work!

  2. Yes, he does. I take it you've read his other work? This is my first taste of his fiction, but I really liked it.

  3. Funnily enough, I didn't read Sci-Fi as a teen, but I read fantasy. Mostly Urban Fantasy, though it wasn't called that five years ago, to my knowledge. No, my heaviest Sci-Fi reading times was from the 4th grade to the 6th, all of it Star Wars, so I can't really name authors since I don't remember many. Except Timothy Zahn. Still love him, and his are the only books I consider canon in the SW Universe. His writing is simple, but he weaves a very good and intriguing story with an excellent sense for dramatic irony.


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