Sci-Fi/Fantasy · Young Adult Fiction

ARC Review: Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo

Mars Girls

Title: Mars Girls | Series: Standalone | Author: Mary Turzillo | Publisher: Apex Book Company | Publication date: June 13th 2017 | Num. Pages: 300 | Genre: Sci-fi, YA | How I owned it: ARC copy kindly provided by the publisher

4 stars – a good space-age novel for the Young Adult in us all

Many thanks to Andrea and Apex Book Company for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Nanoannie is bored. She wants to go to clubs, wear the latest Earth fashions, and dance with nuke guys. But her life is not exciting. She lives on her family’s Pharm with her parents, little sister, and a holo-cat named Fuzzbutt. The closest she gets to clubs are on the Marsnet. And her parents are pressuring her to sign her contract over to Utopia Limited Corp before she’s even had a chance to live a litte. When Kapera—a friend from online school—shows up at her Pharm asking for help, Nanoannie is quick to jump in the roer and take off. Finally an adventure!

What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe’s Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don’t know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.

Life isn’t easy when you’re just a couple of Mars Girls.

“Mary Turzillo has crafted an extraordinary tale of teenaged adventure on a harsh planet. Heroines Nanoannie and Kapera use bravery and ingenuity to survive on a vividly imagined future Mars.”
—Brenda Cooper, author of Edge of Dark

“Mars Girls delivers real-feeling characters in a fast-moving, exciting space adventure.”
—Kij Johnson, author of The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe


Mars Girls is a lovely coming of age type story set in Mars of all places! Nanoannie Centime is one of the main characters in this book and she’s what I could gather at being a teenager as the years of ages are way different than ours. She lives on a Pharm on Mars where her parents are pretty distant, kind of uppity and a whole lot of not-mum-and-dad.

The story is told from the POVs of Kapera Smythe – Nanoannie’s only friend – in the form of a journal written to her brother and switches back and forth to Nanoannie as the story progresses. When the story begins Kapera’s parents are all set to take the Down Escalator back to Earth so she can get treatment for her leukaemia but hours before the trip Down is supposed to occur, Kapera finds that her parents are missing and their Pharm is ransacked and Kapera calls Nanoannie for help.

What follows is a story of two teenage girls as they unravel the mystery of the ransacking of the Smythe Pharm and how they overcome all sorts of obstacles. Kapera is kidnapped by a group of missionaries called the Facers whose plan is to colonise a new world, Nanoannie steals her parents’ marsplane – The Origami Firefly – to save Kapera and ends up being drawn into their mad plans instead.

Nanoannie is essentially the typical teenage girl, one who only wants to party and have a boyfriend – the boyfriend she wants is Kapera’s brother Sekou. Of the two main characters, Nanoannie is probably the best, she’s a lot more quick-witted than Kapera and a lot more vocal than her as well; there’s a lot of snappy dialogue and some quick-witted responses from some of the secondary characters – Cayce, I’m looking at you.

There was a lot of slang vocabulary in Mars Girls which I’ve not heard before – “nuke” “tanks” – which was unique in its own way and as far as I’m concerned is wholly Mary Turzillo’s. There was a lot of scientific technology and a lot of scientific words that were great to see in this book, along with a few ideas on race relations in the future, terminology and religion.

In all, a well-rounded, action-packed novel more than suitable for the young adult generation and those of us not so young adult but young at heart!

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