Sounds a great read!My Local Hero selection, First Cosmic Velocity by Zach Powers, was a wonderful hidden gem! I only came across it by googling for local DC authors, it doesn't have many reviews on Amazon, so I wasn't sure that to expect. It deserves more buzz. Despite taking quite a few liberties with the history, it was well researched and well executed for the most part. Most importantly, it was some good escapist reading and tons of heart. One of the best of my challenge selections this year.
In the mid-1960s, the Soviets knew they could not safely return a spacecraft to Earth but couldn't admit so publicly, so all of the cosmonauts are twins recruited as children; one trained to go up in space and never come back and the other to be trained in official protocol, public relations, and to remain in hiding until after the mission for victory parades and to be revered as heroes for the accomplishments of their now-dead siblings. However, Leonid's twin is still up in space, several weeks after his oxygen was supposed to have run out and orbit decayed into an atmospheric fireball, and after Leonid has begun the round of very public appearances. Unaware of the ruse, Khrushchev himself wants in on the action, ordering the Chief Designer to send up the Premier's dog (and bring him back safely, of course). Every character in this book is engaging, even the bit characters, and the topics occasionally veer off into philosophical discussions that are just long enough to be interesting and stop before they get preachy. Powers plays fast and loose with the history; the first person in space is the twin of the character Nadya (not Yuri Gagarin or the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova), he has the Nedelin Catastrophe occurring in 1964 when it was actually in 1960, and various other convenient "rearrangements" to move the story along. A nice find of a book.
- Laughing Matters: A humorous or satirical book. Nothing to see here – Kevin Wilson Done
- I spy: A book featuring spies or espionage. Need to know – Karen Cleveland Done
- Local hero: A book by a local author. First cosmic velocity – Zack Powers Done
- 21st Century, 21st Year, 21st Letter: A book by someone whose first or last name begins with the letter U: House of Broken Angels – Luis Alberto Urrea Done
- Locked up: A book taking place in a prison, mental institution or treatment center. Girl, Interrupted -- Suzanna Kaysen Done
- What your parents read: Any novel from the year you were born. Love in the Ruins – Walker Percy Done
- Out of this world: A book taking place in space or on another planet. Artemis – Andy Weir Done
- Keep up with the Joneses: A book everyone else seems to have read but you have not. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak Done
- Feisty feline fiesta: A book with a cat on the cover. Cat Chaser – Elmore Leonard Done
- Pixies and Dryads and Elves, oh my!: A high fantasy. Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik
- Run for the border: A book about or taking place in Central or South America. 100 years of solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez Done
- Vast critical acclaim: A book that has won a prestigious award. Discomfort of Evening – Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Man Booker International award). Done