Skyward, by Brandon Sanderson is a science fiction novel about a girl who exceeds expectations and claims the stars. The protagonist, Spensa Nightshade is a 17 year old girl living the underground city of Igneous on the planet Detritus. Spensa's ancestors crashed on the planet after Earth became uninhabitable, and they have lived on Detritus ever since. The most coveted job on the planet is the job of pilot, and dangerous job that consists of flying into the air and fighting the Krell, aliens who have been attacking Detritus for decades. Spensa's dream is to fly with the pilots, and protect her people, however some dreams are not meant to be. Spensa's father, Zeen Nightshade, is a notorious pilot who fled during one the most important battles of the history of the planet. No one will let the daughter of a coward into the ranks of flights school, no one sane that is. When an unexpected meetup with her father's old colleague lands her a spot in flight school, Spensa is plunged into a world of possibility. Spensa is determined that her father was not a coward, and will stop at nothing to prove it. Faced with secrets, and ploys, and uptight flightleaders, Spensa will fly among the stars and become the hero her people need . . . or die trying.
This was a fast paced and well written book with excellent character development, crazy plot twists, and humor. Spensa is a strong and independent female lead who doesn't hold back on her thoughts. While I normally don't enjoy science fiction, I loved this one. It was an incredible mix of AI, coming of age, and friendship. I'd recommend this for late elementary school and middle school. There are some non descriptive deaths, with the aftermath of grief being described in detail. I highly recommend Skyward for those who want a fast paced book to read.