Today Tanya Kaanta reviews Full Throttle by Jon Hartless. The first book in the Poppy Orpington chronicles. Poppy Orpington is such an amazing name for a character. I have to say I love the cover too, it is definitely one for the Bookstgrammers.
Full Throttle by Jon Hartless
In a world that refuses to let her move forward, can Poppy stay ahead of the pack?
Sixteen-year-old Poppy Orpington seems destined for a life of poverty until her father perfects a petrol-fuelled engine. Their success allows Poppy to get a new prosthetic arm, giving her the mobility she’s longed for all her life.
But can a working class family crack open the aristocratic world of motor racing? Can Poppy overcome prejudice as she fights to find a place in the world? Or will the ruling elite crush her only chance of a better life?
Review by Tanya Kaanta
Full Throttle is like a mixed salad for teens. It touches on so many themes like women’s rights, GLBTQ, abilities, class, and how one young heroine overcomes the discrimination she experiences on a daily basis. And yes, there are a multitude of topics that come to the fore, yet these topics shape the experiences of the characters and provide context to their decisions and attitudes.
Poppy Orpington has had a difficult time in her short sixteen years. From the time she was a young child, she had been bullied for her physical disabilities. But as she comes of age, she realizes she’s more than the taunts that degraded her body and her poverty.
And how does Poppy shine through the oppression? With an opportunity to join her father’s car racing team. In this steampunk alternate historical setting, Poppy’s father invents a petrol-fueled car in a world of steam. As a member of his automotive team, Poppy and her best friend Amy, confront prejudice head on and break barriers.
While sometimes the writing is a little on the nose, especially when we’re introduced to the injustice Poppy faces regularly, I applaud the author for raising awareness to young readers. And while the writing level leans more toward middle grade to young adult, the story is still interesting for adults. Especially as we follow Poppy through her adventures as a young child into adolescence. Followed by her introduction into young adulthood, as she enters a world of wealth, power, and prestige.
In the end, Full Throttle has it all. Drama, overcoming boundaries and breaking barriers, loyalty, a unique historical otherworld, and a competition riddled with fraudulence. But Poppy’s spirit never wanes. And the more life seems to try and bring her down, the more Poppy finds strength in unlikely allies and most importantly, in herself.
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