Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly's plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever.
Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there's more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.
Yes, Polly and her brother, Charles, have been born on the planet Mars so are technically Martians but please don't expect little green men! Martians Abroad takes the idea of colonists in space and then adds a little twist. Sent somewhat reluctantly back to Earth, Polly and Charles struggle to fit in with their new environment, not to mention fellow students. It brought to question just how prejudiced even a so called advanced civilisation could be. Polly feels like an outsider and indeed the off worlders are clearly targeted, but the high spot for me was seeing how Polly slowly won over some of those born on Earth as she used both her brains and her ingenuity.
I won't ruin the story for others but will say this book had me wondering just how different life would be living in space and the author does a fabulous job of describing possible differences which include things as diverse as conservation and the effects of gravity. Yet, it's a human story with petty differences raising their ugly head, unfortunately showcasing a prejudice that can be dangerous.
Polly stands out quite rightly and yet her brother Charles who is integral to this story was a much more remote character. I wanted to know more about him as he's something of an enigma which was a shame. I adored Polly’s lust for life and ambition and truly she's a character I'd like to know more about.
What I didn't like were the underhand tactics; the plot waivered occasionally as various characters became targets leaving me questioning whether or not Ms Vaughn was making a statement about greed and political machinations.
My final thoughts are I enjoyed the set up (although teens sent to new schools isn't exactly a fresh idea), I really enjoyed the Sci-Fi elements, but the tragedy was that it felt like a bleak outlook if society would still target those who are different.
This voluntary take is of an advance reader copy.