Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders is a wholesome YA space opera full of friendship, bravery, and adventure.
There’s a ton of great rep in this book, and fantastic modeling of consent and respect. Characters ask permission before giving hugs. They give each other space when they need time to decompress. And they’re all introduced with their pronouns, thanks to the EverySpeak universal translator.
There’s a really thoughtful thread in this novel about what it feels like to have conflicting feelings about a person; remembering that there were good memories with that person, but feeling awful when you think of them. These conflicting feelings occur due to an outside force, yet there’s still truth inside this plot detail that’s worth holding space for; realizing and coming to terms with the fact that people are complex, not all good or all bad.
Homeschooled kids tend to be portrayed in fiction in disparaging, stereotypical ways, so I love that Charlie Jane wrote a gentle, artistic homeschooled character who is completely awesome. Much more realistic, in my experience!
Some of my favorite quotes (there were so many):
“I feel like I’ve always had a knot inside of me, made out of pure concentrated if-only, and now it’s gone, and I suddenly have all this extra space to fill. With what, I don’t know.”
“Like, people get programmed in all sorts of ways, by privilege, or propaganda, or whatever.”
“That skyscraper of injustice? It needs a million people with wrecking balls, chipping away at it for a long time.”
I was excited that the book ends with the feeling that there may be a sequel, because I absolutely want to spend more time with these characters and in this world. Victories Greater Than Death is so much fun! Pick this up next time you want a book that’s thoughtful, feel-good, exciting, and entertaining.