Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Review + Q/A: Bounders by Monica Tesler

by Monica Tesler
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.

But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.

When Simon & Schuster Canada approached me to review Bounders, Monica Tesler's debut, I was thrilled! It isn't often I come across a middle-grade title that excites me the moment it's pitched to me, but that's exactly what Bounders did. As a sci-fi title targeted towards younger readers, I was beyond thrilled to learn more about Monica's space-aged world and it's array of diverse characters.

"I don't think breaking rules on day one is the brightest idea, but I don't want to look like a complete wimp in front of Marco."

Twelve year old Jasper is a cadet - a Bounder - recruited by the  Academy. In the state-of-the-art facilities, Jasper and his fellow cadets are trained and taught about new technology. Unfortunately, all isn't as it seems with Earth Force. When Jasper and his fellow cadets discover the truth behind the academy and the need for Bounders, they are faced with a life-altering choice - rebel against Earth Force or stay loyal.

"Did we make it?"
"I hope so. Either that or we're all lost together in some alternate dimension."

Readers can expect to see wonderful things from Monica Tesler! Bounders, the first installment in her debut series, was utterly captivating! Jasper (and friends) were excellent characters, each of which I inexplicably felt connected to, and of which I couldn't wait to share with other fellow readers (namely my younger nieces and nephews, whom, by the way, LOVED Bounders). I highly recommend Bounders to not just younger readers, but older readers as well, who are interested in a new perspective in the science fiction genre. Monica Tesler's world building, plot twists, and characters are a breath of fresh air and worth every flip of the page.

4 / 5 Cupcakes

Q/A with Monica Tesler
The author of Bounders

 How does it feel to be releasing your very first novel out into the world?

It’s overwhelming to be running toward a target for so long and then finally have it in sight. I’m trying to take some moments to pause and reflect on the journey. Once I’m a published author, there will be new things to chase and fret about. That’s the nature of the run, there’s always another target to be reached. Now, though, the two words that sum up how I’m feeling are elation and gratitude.

What inspired you when writing Bounders? Furthermore, why middle grade sci-fi?

When I started writing with an eye toward publication, I quickly learned two things. First, I love writing novels. Second, it’s very hard to get published. My older son had just fallen in love with reading and was devouring Rick Riordan’s books and other middle grade fantasy and speculative series. We share a love of stories with heavy world building that invite you to escape into their pages even after you’ve put the book down. I wrote BOUNDERS knowing that it was a story and world we would both like, and the experience would be fun and stimulating regardless of whether the book ever made it out of our own house.

What are you hoping younger readers will take from reading Bounders?

First and foremost, I hope readers find in BOUNDERS an immersive world, a fun and exciting adventure, and relatable characters. And I hope my book fuels the love of reading, pushing readers to seek out others stories and adventures and discover new authors. Beyond that, I think BOUNDERS leaves readers with some things to think about like the value of brain difference, ethics and technology, and themes of loyalty, teamwork, and being yourself. Anyone can be a hero.

Advice for aspiring authors hoping to publish their own middle grade titles in the future?

The best advice I can give aspiring authors is to write something they enjoy and let go of outcomes. It’s important to learn how to finish projects and be able to set them aside and start something new. Get connected with other writers and gain an understanding of the business of publishing while writing, but don’t let that become too much of a time drain. Twitter will take your day away if you let it. Read.

What else can readers expect to see from you after Bounders?

I recently submitted the second book in the BOUNDERS series to my fabulous editor, Michael Strother at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Soon I’ll get to work on the third. In the mean time, I have some new characters and worlds floating around in my brain that may make their way into a book some day soon.


I'd like to extend a big thank you to Monica Tesler for agreeing to participate in my quick Q/A, and Simon & Schuster Canada for being absolutely wonderful!

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. Katherine Pinacho5 January 2016 at 10:11

    Great review and interview, Wendy!

  2. Thanks for posting!

  3. I don't really read Middle Grade . It doesn't appeal to me. However, Bounders sounds like a great read. Thank you for sharing

  4. It looks like a great book
    Good review and question answer segment

  5. First I've heard of Bounders and I'm looking forward to reading it soon.