Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins follows Will and his friends at boarding school, where they will learn all the skills they need to survive on the human race’s new home planet.
Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me a free copy of Space Academy in return for an honest review.
Humans have destroyed the Earth. The remaining population is fighting over limited resources, the world is covered in toxic smog and weather has become more extreme. Their only hope is a planet called Novum, in what’s known as the Split. People must prove their worth and earn a place or be rich enough to buy a seat — those left behind face certain death. The last ship to leave is the Mayflower, and Elsie James is determined to get a seat. 13 years later, Will has his first day at the Space Academy. At the school, Will and his three friends learn all they need to survive on a new planet. But things aren’t quite what they seem…
This was an interesting read. It started off like an apocalypse or dystopian novel, and then became a sci-fi Hogwarts. In some places Space Academy are very light-hearted, with worries about homework or going to watch rocket races. And then at other times, it is quite dark, such as when Emily’s mother reveals why she married Emily’s father. This, for me, made it unique and really made it stand out from other young adult books that I’ve read.
We learn more about each of the various characters through changes of perspective. Through Emily, we learn why she is so unhappy at home. Through Finley, we learn his family’s perspective of his place at the Academy and his sibling’s jealousy. And through Professor Kurt Krecher, we learn about Will’s family and the ship’s captain. He taught them many years before on Earth. This was an interesting way for us to learn more about each of the characters, without it being spelled out.
I liked each of the main characters in the story. I was rooting for Finley throughout the book! He lives on the seventh floor and the school receives funding to take him. I hope future books comment more on the class system as this was an interesting aspect of the story. The richer passengers living on higher levels of the ship in luxurious apartments feels very Titanic-esque!
But for me, the real pull was the history and the world building here. There was so much to take in! When I finished this book, I went back and re-read the first chapter — there was a lot that I missed the first time. It all felt very interesting, fresh and new.
There were a few areas where I would have loved to learn more. For example, we’re told that aliens first make contact in 1985 — but we don’t know anything more than that. We also never learn how the alien technology that the children find works or where it came from. I hope that this is the first in a series, so that some of these questions are answered!
Space Academy is a great read! There’s so much world-building here that I hope there will be future books in the series. I would love to learn more about the class system on the ship as well as the school. It’s very well-written, and I love that we are shown things rather than having it spelt out for the reader. While this is a young adult book and will appeal to fans of books with boarding schools, its darker, dystopian elements will also appeal to adult sci-fi fans.
The blurb for Space Academy
It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers.
Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait.
Lose yourself in this brilliantly addictive novel as it takes you on a journey through the stars. But be warned – you might be surprised by what you find.
About the author, Hannah Hopkins
In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled The Split; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by The Conrad Press and re-vamped as Space Academy, with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. Space Academy was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.
Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.