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The Disasters

Review

The Disasters

Nax Hall has always dreamed of being a pilot --- but when his history of bad decisions catches up to him and he is denied admission to the Academy, the only place to get is pilot’s license, he expects nothing more than a one-way ticket back to his farm home in North Carolina. But when the Academy is attacked, with everyone on it killed, Nax has no choice but to flee to the nearest space colony to avoid death with three other Academy rejects.

In M.K. England’s THE DISASTERS, this unlikely team of misfits must dodge the international police and others looking to capture them to claim the reward, all the while searching to survive and find the people that killed hundreds at the Academy. As they run and learn more and more about the plot that will affect colonies all over, they have to choose to fight to survive and save the galaxy as they know it.

"M.K. England helps us realize that maybe each and every one of us needs to embrace the misfit in ourselves..."

A common problem with so many of the young adult books I read is that the author writes as if the main character has decades of wisdom and experience more than should be appropriate. In THE DISASTERS this is not the case. Nax’s narration is a typical teenage guy --- one who dreams of being a space pilot to travel to colonies all across the colonies. He is obsessed with sleek spaceships, falls for girls and boys alike and has trouble with his family. Despite his running from the police and traveling to other planets, as I read I could relate to everything he was doing because he was not an all-knowing narrator. He felt just like me or the friends I hang out with. This was consistent with each and every of the main characters. They are various parts of the LGBTQ+ community, of different colors and backgrounds, varying experiences --- and it’s real. I see these characters as I walk around my school. They’re real, despite travelling through space.

I have always been obsessed with space, and M.K England writes a space colonizing story that I can imagine. The new places she creates, these planets, feel as if they actually exist. Each new place is described in such vivid detail that I could not only picture what they look like, but I also felt like I was a part of their culture. Just like the various parts of the world, each new planet has its own life and its own ways --- some are encased in a bubble, some are colonized by different groups from Earth and it shows on each planet and new civilization.

The story of misfits banding together to fight some bad force is not a new story--- but it’s one I never grow tired of. These four teenagers seem so different, from such very opposing points of the world, and by a stroke of luck they end up together. They each have their special skill set that made them stand out, or made them unfit to serve in the Academy. Every single one of us has something that makes them different, perhaps makes them unwanted, and THE DISASTERS shows us that maybe these things are not reasons for us to be discarded and unused. They are reasons for us to celebrate ourselves and to join together to make our world better in whatever way we can. Even though our world does not have space travel, we do have problems that need to be fixed and bad people that need to be stopped. M.K. England helps us realize that maybe each and every one of us needs to embrace the misfit in ourselves to help solve these problems, however we can.

Reviewed by Caitlyn K., Teen Board Member on January 16, 2019

The Disasters
by M. K. England