Cover Image: Skating on Mars

Skating on Mars

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Member Reviews

This is a beautifully written book about a nonbinary seventh grader who is navigating their father's recent death and trying to find their place both on the ice and in the world. I sat down and read SKATING ON MARS straight through, as I was rooting for Mars from the very first page and was immediately caught up in their journey and needed to know that they would be okay. This is a very important story that is so timely and relevant. Five stars for SKATING ON MARS!
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Wow (in a REALLY good way). It’s hard enough for kids to deal with just being twelve. But main character Mars has so much more going on: dealing with their father’s death, competitive skating and exploring identifying as nonbinary. All of these are closely but smoothly interlinked to result in a captivating story. What Mars is going through is complex, but their voice is simple and honest. Of course there are antagonists, but this is not a story about bullying. The list of heart-warming supporting characters engulfs the reader in a world mainly full of compassion.

This book has ALL the feels: love, grief, family, support, friendship, jealousy, crushes, disappointment, determination, enlightenment. Reading this novel lets me see only the tip of the iceberg in one person’s journey to identify as nonbinary, but I’m thankful this will be out in the world soon for those kids who deserve to see themselves in books. And for young readers in general, I imagine it will leave them with a sense of empowerment to not only demand change but also to make it happen.

I’ve never been a fan of skating, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying reading about Mars on the ice. All readers can relate to some form of escape where we feel free to be our true selves. Now that I understand the significance, I love the white skates on the cover! I am really honoured to have been able to read an ARC of this novel.
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Wow. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Skating for Mars is a landmark middle grade novel. It introduces the subject of nonbinary gender identity through a story that feels every bit as natural and lived-in as this experience already IS for countless nonbinary kids growing up today. Readers will be rooting non-stop for the witty, charming character of Mars, who skates through some major life changes as they learn to embrace their nonbinary identity and reveal this part of their life to their inner circle, and, eventually, the rest of the world around them. As for the setting, the world of figure skating is just such a brilliant place to interrogate the limitations of a gender binary—and the beautiful things that can happen when we restructure our communities in the spirit of "open competition," where everyone can come as they are and show us what they've got. This book is as powerful as it is delightful—an education and a joy.
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I was lucky enough to get to read this manuscript early, and I'm so glad it did, as it became an instant MG favorite.

SKATING ON MARS has an excellent voice, the perfect balance of humor and heart (a saying that can be overused but is absolutely true in this case) and a wonderful message with great representation. The pacing is enjoyable, as it was all too easy to finish in nearly one sitting, and the writing is both beautiful and authentic.

While dealing with topics like grief, the book does so in a graceful way that doesn't take away from the overall hopeful tone. That being said, it still is powerful and emotional at times, and will stick with readers long after finishing.

Mars is a wonderful protagonist with a strong voice and sense of humor, and they are both relatable and easy to root for. The relationship they have with their mom is so well-done, healthy, and important to see in Middle Grade Fiction. The queer representation in the book is flawlessly integrated into the story, and will mean the world to so many kids (as well as adults!). 

Overall, SKATING ON MARS is a fantastic read and is sure to be a classic in both LGBTQIA+ and Sports MG Fiction.
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Ice-skating may be a cool sport (pun absolutely intended) but everything about this book warmed my heart. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy and what a joy it was! I read the entire book in a single sitting, swept away by Huntoon’s ability to create powerful, realistic characters and a well-paced tender story. Mars is an enby ice skater, trying to figure out their place in a sport that they love so much. Although Mars feels most free on ice (especially as skating connects them to their recently deceased father), they don’t want to be forced into competing in traditionally gendered competitions where the skills on ice are judged by how graceful female skaters must be and how powerful male skaters must be. Can’t Mars just…be themselves and skate with all the skills and talent they have? A story about coming out, loss, friendship, and family, Huntoon has somehow folded so many themes effortlessly into a story where everyone gets to belong.
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Skating On Mars is an absorbing story of a non-binary skater who just wants to skate- not boxed in by arbitrary confines. People have lots to learn, choices to make, voices to use to speak up. Well-written.
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Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon is about a non-binary 12 year old coming to terms with being an enby (NB spelled out) and figuring out how to present their true self to the world.  Formerly named Veronica, they now wish to be called Mars, and they struggle with how to let others know they are enby and what they would like to be called.  They also struggle with how they skate--should they skate as a boy?  as a girl?  Why do their have to be divisions at all?  Mars also struggles with their Dad's recent death.  I found all of their struggles and their family's and friends' responses to be all honest and positive.  I will definitely be adding this book to my school library.

Thanks to NetGalley for the eARC.
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Mars, as a twelve year old competitive figure skater, who is also grieving the loss of a parent, negotiating friendships  and stepping into their non- binary identity, definately has a lot to work through. While books about death can sometimes get soggy and sad, Mars draws on the death of their father to inspire both the competitive and personal parts of life. Written with warmth, honesty and insight, I guarantee you'll want to be Mars friend.
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I will forever and always love any nonbinary sports novel, and this one has my whole heart! I was swept away from the start into Mars' world, where skating is EVERYTHING. It's competition and technique. It's hustle and passion. It's where Mars makes the best of friends, and where they *find* themselves...until they're forced to question if there's any room for them at all in a world that is so binary.

I was so moved by the characters in this novel. Huntoon has created a narrator who feels terribly real, and the things Mars deals with in and outside of skating are relatable. This book tackles heavy topics like grief and other types of loss, but its whimsy and joy balance the pages well. People of all ages will fall head-over-skates for this beautiful coming-of-age middle-grade story
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Thank you, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, for allowing me to read Skating on Mars early. 

Wow, wow, wow! This is how a Middle Grade book should be written. Mars is such a likable character and I adored them. Caroline Huntoon perfectly pictures how difficult it is to always have to choose between men or women in our society, and that it's so important to do whatever we want to do in our life, if it's skating or something else. I can't wait to read more of their books!
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I liked this YA novel. The skating was reasonably well-written. The author either has first hand knowledge of the sport or did research to write a convincing novel about competitive figure skating.
The nonbinary story was well-written. I felt for the kid and what they were going through. I also enjoyed the very supportive parent. Every child should be so fortunate. I think this story will resonate with many people and will be particularly helpful to those in the nonbinary community as well as their loved ones. I liked that the characters created a skating competition that was open to all to compete on a level playing field regardless of gender.
There are plenty of social media and pop culture references in this novel, which will probably appeal to the YA target audience, which I am not. However, YA readers will probably find that these references make the story feel current and tangible.
This book would make an excellent choice for a YA/teen/tween book club. There is plenty of material here for young people to discuss. It is timely and relevant. Very well done.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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Actual 4.5 rating stars. 
Once in a while, I pick up a Middle-Grade story, and each time I’m surprised at how wonderful those books are. Skating on Mars, about a non-binary twelve-year-old figure skater, is no exception.
Caroline Huntoon drew me into Mars’ story, and I couldn’t let go. I sat on the edge of my seat and finished the book in less than 24 hours. Mars, who lost their Dad not that long ago, and never felt a girl or a boy, is a fantastic main character and skating is what they love most. And what do you do when you’re competing in a girl's competition, and an older boy dares you to skate against him? What follows is a beautifully nuanced story in which Mar searches for their identity and tries to be who they want to be without giving up what they want to do most. The character growth in this MG is outstanding, not only Mars’ but also their friends, family, and even people who were a*holes at first. And I simply loved, loved the ending!
I can’t wait to read more by Caroline Huntoon because their writing is incredibly vivid and captivating, and I’m curious about what they have in store for us next!
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This was a beautifully done story by Caroline Huntoon, it was what I was hoping for from the cover. I really enjoyed Mars as a person and really felt for them with their father's death. It was what I was hoping for and was so well written. It had a great plot and well-written characters. I look forward to read more from Caroline Huntoon.

"I want the perfection of the performance to carry me as I wait for the results, but I’m surprised when the joy of my time on the ice starts to fade. As I sit there staring at the screen, staring at Xander’s name and hoping that mine shows up above his. Because even though I’m confident in my skate, the judges have the final say."
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I recieved an eARC of this book. Thank you for the opportunity to read it.

One of the best things about recent MG books is that, more and more, there are TGNC characters who just are, where they are accepted by peers and are part of the class project, marching band, or robotics team. Such representation is vital and imporant. And, I admit, having read young adult books involving coming out stories, I was a little nervous about the fact that Skating on Mars is a coming out story, and one involving a young athlete who is trying to find their place in a gendered sport, because it could so easily have gone to either extreme, of either being too easy, where everyone is supportive, or being just plain too miserable. Both are better than no representation at all, but aren't ideal. 

Skating on Mars manages to thread the needle extremely well. Mars is a 7th grade, 12 yr old figure skater. They've skated for years, love it, but are more and more uncomfortable skating as a girl. They're also nervous about coming out to their family, their coach, at school, everyone but their best friend, Libby, who gave them the name Mars. When Libby's pairs partner challenges Mars to compete against him, as a boy, Mars takes him up on it. 

This book shines in how much it shows Mars's internal struggles, where things like which locker room, or which division to compete in, have no good answers. While some in Mars's life are supportive, some are not, and some of the obstacles Mars faces are set by others, but some are completely internal. 

The necessary triumph, the happy ending common to both middle grade and sports books manages to both be a victory and to be realistic. It's a feel good ending, but not one that is "happily ever after". 

I believe a lot of kids, whether they're male, female, or non-binary, will find that Mars's efforts to be themself-and to figure out who they are-will be relatable and ring true. For those who are gender non-conforming, and who love sports that don't seem to have a place for them, Mars's struggles will be even more relatable. 

I wish every adult who has proposed a bill that bans trans kids from playing sports as themselves, who wants to restrict kids using their pronouns and names at schools, who wants to force kids to be outed before they choose would read this book and realize that what Mars...and many other kids are asking simply to be able to be themselves. This is a beautiful book. I hope it gets the chance it deserves.
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