Futureland: Battle for the Park is adventurous, imaginative, and action-packed STEM based middle grade sci-fi with amazing concept and setting.
Futureland: Battle for the Park by H.D. Hunter, Khadijah Khatib (Illustrator)
Publication Date : November 8, 2022
Publisher : Random House Books for Young Readers
Read Date : December 10, 2022
Genre : Middle Grade / Sci-fi
Pages : 320
Tea for this book :
Disclaimer – Many thanks to PRH International for free ARC.
When an extraordinary flying theme park arrives above Atlanta, one boy must stop a sinister force from stealing the park’s tech and taking over the world..
Welcome to the most spectacular theme park in the world.
Everyone wants a ticket to Futureland, where you can literally live out your wildest dreams. Want to step inside your favorite video game? Go pro in a sports arena? Perform at a real live concert? Grab your ticket and come right in.
Yet with all its attractions, Futureland has always just been home to Cam Walker, the son of the park’s famous creators. And when Futureland arrives at its latest stop, Atlanta, Cam is thrilled for what promises to be the biggest opening ever. . . .
But things aren’t quite right with the Atlanta opening. Park attractions are glitching. Kids go missing. And when his parents are blamed, Cam must find the missing kids and whoever’s trying to take down his family . . . before it’s too late.
Futureland: Battle for the Park is adventurous middle grade sci-fi that revolves around eleven-year-old Cameron and saving his home and loved ones.
Futureland is a theme park Cameron’s parents created, it’s only home he knew and where he was born but once Futureland ports in Atlanta for extended time, things starts to change in Cemeron’s life- Revs (androids) in Futureland are malfunctioning just five days before the opening day; Cameron has to attend school like normal kid for the first time in life; and he has to stay with his grandma during school days and can only visit Futureland in weekends.
Even with all jitters and apprehension, he makes first real friends at school but with Futureland things get stranger and stranger soon as it opens for public- Revs are glitching more, his parents are acting weird, nobody has seen his uncle who apparently has taken vacation (which he never did before), and kids start going missing in the city. When his family is blamed for missing kids he has to turn his dream to be a detective into reality to save his family and home before it’s too late.
The story is about family, friends, struggle of new kid in town trying to find his place, greed, and loyalty along with layers of gentrification, AI technology, corruption, and missing black kids.
Writing is gripping, lucid, and imaginative with first person narrative from Cameron’s perspective. I loved the format that includes text messages, transcript, interviews, play script, posters, and graphics that gives words and setting of Futureland park and Atlanta in 2048 a life.
Cameron is smart, likable, and vulnerable kid. I liked the way his struggle with new school was depicted. All his emotions and actions are realistic. Best thing is he acted his age and his character isn’t shown like a hero who acted recklessly and saved everything all on his own. I loved how he learned to be friends with normal kids and developed to understand how Futureland is his parents’ dream, he gets to have his own dream. What I like most about him is even though he suspected something was wrong with Dooley (his android and his first best friend), he never treated her badly or thought anything wrong about her.
Family dynamic is really good. I loved how his parents instilled family values in Cameron even though they raised him on park filled with androids. Even though Dooley is an android, they treated her like family. It was amazing how they all worked together on park. All other secondary characters are great and they all help in moving the story forward.
Setting was the best part. Futureland super amazing mobile theme park that stays hovering hundred feet above the ground, has various exhibits called destinies that allows visitors to experience future, galaxy, doors leading to new places, marketplace, library with books that takes you inside the story of the book, animals that don’t exist anymore, maze-like caves and there are amazing cool gadgets that all kids, and even I, would like to have. It was all descriptive, imaginative, and adventurous and there still might be more in next books of the series.
Mystery isn’t surprising. Villain’s identity is revealed at around middle of the story but all the fun is in hows and whys which are revealed slowly. The motive wasn’t very surprising but I couldn’t guess where all the missing people were until it was revealed. Climax is action packed. It was interesting to see all the puzzle pieces fitting together in this and for a minute I was scared for characters but the end was hopeful and uplifting with a hint of what is to come next.
Why 4.5 stars –
Mine was ARC copy so some pages didn’t have the final art and I didn’t have the map of Futureland but now I see the final book has it. I wish I could see it before I finished the book as it was hard to imagine where all destinies were just by reading words of character without proper map. (I think now that point doesn’t count, does it?) The pace for the first half is a little slow because of build up.
Overall, Futureland: Battle for the Park is fun, adventurous, imaginative, and action-packed STEM based middle grade sci-fi with amazing concept and setting.
I recommend this if you like,
Middle Grade sci-fi
Black main character
Amazing theme park setting
Adventure and action
Struggle of new kid in school trying to find his place
Great family dynamic
Layer of AI technology and gentrification
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,
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Which is you favorite middle grade sci-fi or favorite STEM based Sci-fi?
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