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Hannah State
Journey to the Hopewell Star

Quiet and introverted twelve-year-old Sam Sanderson is comfortable living a simple life on her family's peaceful farm. That is, until a mysterious visitor arrives one night, thrusting her on a formidable and dangerous journey across galaxies. With little direction and no training manual, her mission is to find the elusive Hopewell Star to save a dying planet. But with time running out, a destructive business mogul tracking her every move, and deadly disasters threatening her community, she'll have to rely on her wits, courage, and friends to make things right and restore peace to both worlds…all while surviving seventh grade. From discovering the secret of the Hopewell Star to locating a lost civilization, this book has it all: exhilarating adventures, mystery and intrigue, and fascinating characters—you won’t be able to put it down!

Sam Sanderson, protagonist of State’s middle grade debut, is used to living with her grandfather while her scientist parents go on mysterious missions. After an alien appears and takes Sam to his wondrous home planet Kryg, because he believes she is the girl “of pure spirit and heart” described in a prophecy about the salvation of both Kryg and Earth, Sam takes on a big responsibility—which she’ll need to fit in while navigating attending school for the first time after being homeschooled.

Slate’s prose is well-crafted and reads smoothly. The antagonist is obvious and simple, almost cartoonishly so: the self-centered mogul of the monopolizing TitusTech, which is destroying the environment and mining space for profit. (Though there are lesser challenges, they ultimately all fall under the same evil umbrella.) Similarly, Sam never really has to make any tough moral choices and is easily led toward others who provide the information she needs to progress, with little solving of problems on her own. Moments that might typically spark difficult feelings and conflicts tend not to: Even though the book opens with Sam “dreading” switching from homeschooling to a typical school, when her grandfather announces it, she’s “eager” and “can’t contain her excitement.” Sam hits a bully at school; her grandfather finds out from a teacher, but just gives her a hug and tells her “mistakes… [are] how we learn.”

But that doesn’t preclude excitement and danger in the plot, or likeable characters: Sam is a kind, altruistic, appreciative, and curious protagonist, and she befriends a trio of sweet nerds at school—Kato and Kobe, who are twins, and Simon, whose dad works for TitusTech. State’s optimistic novel advances ideals of avoiding greed, saving the environment, and connecting with those very different from yourself. Middle grade readers looking for a wholesome adventure will relish this one.

Takeaway: Middle grade readers looking for a hopeful adventure starring a smart girl and her steadfast friends will enjoy this one.

Great for fans of: Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Robert Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: C-


"Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Creative, well-written, and funny, with a great plot and wonderful characters. Mix of fantasy, action, and other-worldly beings. The author has an uplifting imagination. Induces a sense of wonder with this very absorbing story. I would consider this a young-adult adventure fantasy-style novel that combines elements of science fiction, and I think it would appeal to the type of audiences that enjoy stories such as The Golden Compass, Chronicles of Narnia, Divergent, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ender's Game, and Harry Potter." - Amazon Customer


“Young adult author Hannah D. State effortlessly blends science fiction and fantasy in Journey to the Hopewell Star, an engaging story featuring an alien culture and a destructive megacorporation that is as enjoyable as it is timely.” – IndieReader (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews

“A well thought out, entertaining fantasy adventure that works on several levels.” – Kirkus Reviews


Journey to the Hopewell Star received the GOLD AWARD in the 2021 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest (Young Adult - Sci-fi)

Literary Titan Book Award Winner (Gold)

The Gold Award is bestowed on books that we found to be perfect in their delivery of original content, meticulous development of unique characters in an organic and striking setting, innovative plot that supports a fresh theme, and elegant prose that transforms words into beautifully written books.