Blue Hearts of Mars, by Nicole Grotepas, is a science fiction, YA romance about a seventeen-year-old girl and an android that fall in love. The girl (or young woman rather), Retta, goes to school and works to support her family. She encounter’s a boy who exposes a world of prejudice and unfairness. Androids are a crucial part of society and Mars would never have been colonized without them. They are so human in appearance that most pass as humans. This gives rise to an interesting question: can an android have a soul? They are thinking, feeling, living entities with the capacity for love…
They are also smarter and stronger. It is not surprising that some humans fear and resent them and would not want their daughters (or sons) dating them.
The boy, Hemingway, seems the less powerful character, even though he has perfect memory and superhuman strength. But Retta makes all of the hard choices and stands up for what is right.
I mention this because Hemingway fades in and out of the picture, allegedly to protect Retta from the perils loving and android will bring. This is good, honorable, and realistic because human / android relationships are taboo in this story. Fine. Retta is the protagonist after all, so she should be center stage. I guess what I am trying to say, is that I like Retta better than Hemingway in this story.
I enjoyed Blue Hearts of Mars quite a bit. The book description sounded interesting and I was curious, though I almost passed on the book because Hemingway, as a character name, jolted me. Once I started reading, however, the name stopped distracting me and I began to like both the name and the character.
One of my favorite scenes is when Retta tells off other students in her class, choosing to stand up for her teacher who many believe is an android. This demonstrates her strong values and willingness to take risks. Retta stands up to her friends, her boss, and her father.
I would recommend this book for fans of science fiction, YA romance. If a reader is seeking hard science fiction about the colonization of Mars, this may not be the right book. The depiction of life on Mars is entertaining and the moral and social issues concerning androids that can pass for human (and some believe to have souls) is thought provoking.
I obtained a free copy of this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. I am glad I did.