Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book, as this book has already been published, I will not share my review on Netgalley at this time.
One of my favorite reads of 2023, Futureland is a must read for Black children. specifically in the South. I loved the inclusion of graphics in the novel to allow the reader to visualize the scenes and get a brief break from the written story. I also loved the attention to futurity, like naming, and the comments made about naming. Lastly, my favorite part of the novel is the homage paid to the victims of the Atlanta Child Murders. H.D. Hunter did a great job with introducing us to Futureland and I look forward to reading Futureland 2!
Watch an interview between H.D. Hunter, Yvette Ndlovu and I here: https://youtu.be/xTgbOHm_jT8
Wonderful book with fantastic characters and a close-knit family unit we rarely get to see in books. This is a great book for kids who have grown out of Cam Jansen, Encyclopedia Brown, or even Judy Moody books. Kids will be turning the page to see what happens next.
Thank you NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.
This was a stunning debut. Perfect for fans of Percy Jackson. I was immediately sweept into the adventure of Cam and know my nephew will enjoy this title. It explore this future troupe in such a fun and exciting way!
Futureland: Battle for the Park (Futureland #1) by H.D. Hunter
Publication date: November 8, 2022
Date read: January 3, 2023
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.
This book is geared toward middle grade readers, so I am not the target audience for this one, but my review will address both adult and middle grade readers.
First of all, I wish this book had been around when I was eleven. Science fiction can be such a fun genre and I wish it was written more for younger audiences. It reminded me of the classic kid detective stories, like Cam Jansen and Encyclopedia Brown (who I loved!), but set in a sci-fi environment.
As an adult reader, I still actually really enjoyed this one. The mystery is a little easy to figure out, but that is to be expected. The story is actually very well-written and didn’t feel like it was “dumbed down” for kids. I also liked that the non-sci-fi plot points were actually pretty relatable - starting at a new school, trying to make friends, establishing some independence from your family. There is a lot that kids will like and identify with in this story.
I also liked that, even in adult fiction, I’ve never really seen this idea played out, of a traveling amusement park. The closest I can think of is usually the horror trope of a traveling carnival. But this idea I found to be very creative, and can see how it would be very appealing to middle grade readers.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I think it’s a great story for kids who enjoy either science fiction or detective stories, and would also be a great option for getting new readers into these genres. It’s also a book that, as an adult, I wouldn’t mind reading with my child, as it would keep my interest as well. Highly recommend.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book.
Cam Walker is the only child of the Walkers and because of that, he is their main focus outside of Futureland. He has grown up surrounded by the robots, his parents, and an Uncle as they create and expand the Futureland world. All of that changes though when the family takes Futureland to Atlanta, where Cam's parents are originally from. While his parents work on opening up the park and making it even better, Cam is supposed to be going to a real school for a change and staying with his grandma during the week so he can interact with kids his own age. Up until now, his best friend has been a robot that his parents created (she does look real, but at the end of the day she is still a robot).
With Cam only being at the park on the weekends it takes him a while to notice that things aren't going as they normally are. Park attractions keep glitching, as do the robots that are in each of the attractions.
While he doesn't think much of it at first, as time goes on and other things start happening at the park he realizes that things are far worse than he ever could have imagined.
Overall this book was such a fun read and I loved it! Cam was so smart and figured out what was happening while also juggling a social life and dealing with family problems. While he did get these friends involved in helping him figure out what was happening, at the end of the day he was the one in charge and had to come up with the plan and find ways to outsmart the robots and the person who was trying to destroy everything his parents had worked so hard for. The way everything unfolded had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next because just when you think he's figured it out something else happens that makes you question things again. In the end, the way this book ended was so good and was a nice conclusion to everything that had gone on. We had answers to the mystery, while also being able to look to the future and have the possibility for more books.
I can easily see this being a series and I cannot wait to see what happens next because it has so many possibilities. Futureland itself is a huge park and Cam's parents have so many ideas that this series could potentially go on for a very long time as Cam grows up.
The review will post on my blog on February 20th, 2023
The review will post on my Instagram on February 13th, 2023
Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Futureland: Battle for the Park
Author: H.D. Hunter, Khadijah Khatib
Book Series: Futureland Book 1
Diversity: Black MC and characters, Hispanic character, Character in foster care
Recommended For...: middle grade readers, sci-fi, attacking robots, westworld
Publication Date: November 8, 2022
Genre: MG Sci-Fi
Age Relevance: 10+ (bullying, grief, slight violence, some scary moments)
Explanation of Above: There are very short scenes involving some bullying towards the MC. There is some grief shown on page. There is some very slight violence against robots and there are some scary moments.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: 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.
Review: I loved this book so much! It was a fun Westworld-feel book and would be perfect for beginning sci-fi readers or older ones. I loved the concept of a park ran mostly by AI and I loved the world building that went into the book. The character development was superb and the writing was very well done. The book is also a mixed media format read, with comic portions and emails and such. The book is just a fun read and I’m intrigued to see what happens to the characters as the saga continues.
The only issue I had with the book is that I felt like the beginning was a bit rushed and it felt like I was being dropped into the middle of a saga instead of the start of one.
Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend!
Thank you, Random House Children's/Random House Books for Young Readers and NetGalley!
I enjoyed this middle-grade book and the supervillain "twist". I believe that it will go down well with kids, who can feel proud of themselves for picking up the foreshadowing. I think this gave great Spy Kids vibes! I will be recommending this book to my students.
Futureland is a fun middle grade scifi adventure story, set in a floating futuristic theme park above Atlanta. Cam's parents are the creators of Futureland, the coolest and most innovative theme park around. He's had an idyllic life in the park, with his loving family and his best friend Dooley, a humanlike rev (robot). Cam has been home schooled so far, but this year, his parents have decided to send him to public school. Just when he starts to settle in and make friends, strange things start happening at Futureland, and kids from his school go missing! It's up to Cam to solve this mystery before his home is destroyed forever.
This setting is a gem to read; it makes you wish you could visit. Good friendships, important social commentary, and a compelling element of mystery make this a must read.
5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars! This book was amazing, a joy to read and I could not put it down. And I’m grown.
Futureland Battle for the Park follows Cameron or Cam-Cam as his mom calls him. Right off the bat I loved this because he doesn’t get embarrassed by his mom ‘s nickname for him! There was no “ew mom, stop it. I’m grow up, that’s not my name.” yada yada. Nope, he actually liked it. He hugged his mom and didn’t wipe away her kisses. Are you kidding me? More of that please we need these little boys to be allowed to accept loving from their moms and dads. His dad, b y the way, calls him big man which I also thought was cute. And his Uncle Trey is someone who trusts him and trusts his mind. As do his parents.
This is the sweetest, most loving family unit I’ve seen in a long time and I adored it. Absolutely.
Y’all read the book just for the family and you won’t be disappointed.
When it comes to Futureland, it’s a big flying amusement park. Cameron and his family live there because it was created by his two incredibly genius parents. Initially it was supposed to be Futureland Atlanta back when they were younger but it never got off the ground. Something his dad still thinks about.
That was an unintentional pun by the way.
Anyway, aside from his awesome family, we get Doley. An adorable girl with afro puffs and she’s Cameron’s best friend. Except she’s not human. She’s a robot called a rev. The entire park is populated with revs. Some do tricks, some sell food and drinks, others are animals.
Like the gorilla rev that starts giving Cameron’s family problems.
His parents allow him to help with basically everything in the park and he’s got a pretty important job when it comes to the park in general. They need his kid brain to help see if the rides and attractions are good. He’s an active and integral part of the park.
So we’ve got a loving, genius, Black family that runs a huge amusement park. Yes, yes I absolutely loved this.
Now as it is middle grade, the violence and things like that are toned down but that doesn’t mean there isn’t tension. Things start going back really quick, and Cameron’s world is changed when he’s put in school down on the ground. And he doesn’t like it. He tries to be normal until one kid recognizes him from the ads for Futureland and that’s it. His normalcy at school is done.
He was so upset you really feel it. The author managed to imbue every character with real heart and a voice that was so distinct to each. It was like you were watching the workings of real people. With real danger and stakes. I couldn’t put this book down.
I think it does a really good job setting up the main conflict and kids will jump into it. There’s clues for you to follow that aren’t buried too deep. Even I figured out part of it (I suck at mysteries ok, I need somewhere to start) and by the end of the book I was more or less right. It had been such a joy to actually follow along with the characters and figure it all out.
Everything about this book made me happy. Not sure if y’all can tell.
I absolutely think everyone should read it. I will recommend it to everyone I know and random people standing in book aisles.
Five (5) out of five (5) stars.
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to them and the publisher.
Go read this book!
4.5 stars rounded up!
First off, the design of this book is awesome. I love that they put so much attention to how this story visually looks on the page, from having little images and electric circuits on each page all the way to having fully designed letters, news articles, flyers, and graphic novel style comic strips! Kids are going to love this, especially with the age this book targets.
The authors writing style is great and pulled me into the story instead of being an obstacle I needed to overcome to enjoy the story. I really enjoyed it, and it made me curious to check out his YA novel to see how his MG voice is different from his YA voice.
While the story is imaginative and awesome, the story did drag a bit. It took a pretty long time (for me) to get really going into the meat of the story. But kids might not care at all because there are cool STEM things going on throughout that are bound to keep a kid's attention. There are some tiny things with the worldbuilding that made me wonder what was going on. For instance, this park is huge and has 10 worlds within the park. But they parked it only 200 feet above Atlanta. That has to be a huge shadow covering a large chunk of the city right? Imagine picking up 2-3 Disney worlds and parking it over a city. And there were other tiny things like a grandma reading a newspaper on the train. But we are in 2043 I think? People barely read newspapers now. But I kind of just assumed the grandmother was reading the newspaper with some kind of high-tech device and kept it moving.
A kid will love this book, especially a kid that already loves STEM. Well done!
I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review.
This was a fun and fast-paced adventure that I think kids will really enjoy. Cameron is a relatable character despite living in a fantastical place and the plot was full of action. Kids are going to really enjoy the comic illustrations that appear throughout the book.
If this book were for a slightly older audience, I would want there to me more explanation and fleshing out of certain plot aspects but I think the current level is a good match for the age level of kids that are likely to read this book. I really enjoyed going on this adventure with Cameron and look forward to more.
This was decent. It was interesting enough and was what I expected. And I’m positive if I was part of the age demographic they intended it for, I would have enjoyed it more. It just fell flat for me. Not claiming it was a terrible book, though, just an okay read for me and nothing special.
What a fun read Furtureland: Battle for the Park by H.D. Hunter was. This Own Voices story is a mix of graphic novel and middle grade novel, which I know for a fact my fifth grader would find appealing. The characters are fun and relatable, the futuristic storyline is believable but imaginative, and who doesn't love a great theme park experience? The technology in the book is just our of grasp but so close and the problem that crop up are lurking just outside our current realm of possibility, making this story absolutely one kids can relate to and see themselves in. I really enjoyed this read and look forward to getting a published copy for my daughter!
Although it started out slow and I read several other books before continuing with this one, it turned out to be a nice middle grade sci-fi/mystery read. Cameron and his parents operate Futureland, a traveling amusement park in the sky. Cameron has lived his entire life in the confines of the park. But when they move the park to Atlanta, things start going wrong. Some of the Revs (human looking robots) are acting weird and even Cam’s parents seem off. And it’s up to Cam to figure out what is happening and how to fix it. Told in a combination of text and graphic novel format, middle grade readers will enjoy the story as they join Cam in solving the mystery. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This is a fun read, set in Atlanta of the future, and one that students will surely enjoy. The STEM elements are sure to bring about lots of interesting classroom discussions, and the descriptions of all the rides and events at Futureland will keep kids reading, too. The family dynamic was fun and featured multiple generations.
This is a great story I can't wait to share with my kids! A fun clean book that will keep the reader fully engaged. I was able to binge in a few hours.
Set in our world and time a family has created a floating amusement park that travels the world. They decide to stop for an extended stay in Atlanta to let their son gain some normalcy but things don't go as planned. Now it's up to him and his new Set of friends to save the save the day and futurelands future.
I definitely recommend this book to fun mystery readers, this book emphasizes family and friendship.
My only downside is as it was an arc some of the artwork was incomplete and there were several grammar and spelling issues but not so many as to take you out of the story. However I'm positive these small issues will be resolved by the time it comes to print.
3.5 rounded up for this cute, interactive and fun book. I loved the sci fi aspect and the features of the park. Definitely feel like children would absolutely love to read this and imagine themself like CJ enjoying such a futuristic themed park. I also thought it was very creative to have a book written novel, graphic novel, interview transcript, and also flyer format. That really drew me in and made for a quick easy read.
I am a bit older but I do still read some middle grade books. I loved how these were black characters and they felt like black characters without ever touching on racism. Some authors can’t do that!
Although all these things are great I wished the copy that I received was more finalized. There was a quite a bit grammatical errors, and a lot of the graphic novel parts were not completed and had to be written and described. Some of the dialogue didn’t seem realistic either, not childish but just didn’t seem like what real people would say. However, I’m not sure if that felt like that because I am an adult.
You should check out Futureland: Battle for the Park if you enjoy any of the following five things in your middle-grade reads:
- Theme park setting
- New kid in town
- Kid mystery
- Own voices
- Healthy family dynamic (aka parents being terrible is not the plot)
This book is about a kid whose parents created and run Futureland, a theme park in the sky that can move between cities. But when opening day in their hometown of Atlanta arrives, weird things start happening...and the main character has to discover what is truly going on.
I liked the setup for this but didn't prefer the second-half pacing-wise and such. But this was a fun new book that I think young readers are going to love!!!!
This book is out and ready to read - and what a fun read it is! Eleven year old Cam Walker lives with his parents in Futureland - a multi-world, mobile amusement park that brings the park, and access to your greatest dreams, right to your town. But when Cam's parents bring Futureland home to Atlanta for an extended stay (and perhaps some normalcy for Cam), things go off the rails and it's up to Cam to save the park, his friends and his family.
This book is exciting and engaging from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the format. It's written mostly as a standard book, with interview excerpts and graphic segments interwoven throughout.
For such an action-packed book, it's pretty character driven. Besides all the action, there's the underlying story of Cam trying to find his place in the "real" world as he attends public school and makes friends for the first time. Cam is instantly likeable and I found myself pulling for him throughout the story. While all of the other characters are secondary to Cam, they were all multi-faceted and interesting. That was key, because every character was essential to the progression of the story. (I do wish the author had fleshed out Grandma Eva's character a bit more, because she was a favorite.)
There were a couple of small things that kept this from being a five-star read for me. First I wish the worlds of Futureland had been drawn in more detail. There was so much potential for world-building, but it sometimes got lost in the action. I want to know more about what Futureland was like. The other thing that I would have changed is I wish the author had introduced the hourglass house at the beginning of the book, maybe as a prologue, rather than as a flashback at the end. I feel like that would have given readers an opportunity to solve the mystery themselves, rather than just presenting the reader with the solution at the end. But this was minor, and did not keep me from getting completely enmeshed in the world H.D. Hunter created. This middle-grade book is great for kids with big imaginations, kids who love action, kids who think they don't like to read - because H.D. Hunter may just prove them wrong.
Thank you Random House Children's and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy.