In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!
Bounders have always known they were different, but they never suspected they were the key to saving Earth.
Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together a team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as elite astronauts able to pilot ships that can travel across the galaxy in an instant.
Jasper Adams can’t wait to join the first class of Bounders, but when he arrives at the space station, nothing is as it seems. Security is sky-high, and Jasper and his new friends soon realize that Earth Force has been keeping secrets—one of the biggest being a powerful, highly-classified technology that allows the Bounders to teleport through space without a ship. Only Bounders can use this tech, which leads Jasper to a sinister truth—humanity is facing a threat greater than any they’ve ever known, and Bounders are the ones standing between their planet and destruction.
Will Jasper and his friends rebel against Earth Force for hiding the truth, or fulfill their duty and fight for their planet? The fate of Earth may rest on their choice.
About the Author
Monica Tesler lives south of Boston with her husband and two boys. She earned her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. She writes on the commuter boat, in coffee shops, and at her kitchen table. She tries to meditate every day but often ends up fantasizing about space, time travel, or strange lands, both real and imagined.
Read an Excerpt
I KNOW IT’S RUDE TO STARE. How many times has Mom told me that? A million? But I’ve never seen an alien before. Not up close, at least. Sure, we’ve all seen the Global Geographic specials that air on the webs in a constant loop, 24-7. Anyone who hasn’t seen pics and vids of the Tunnelers must have been hiding out in a dingy hover garage for the last twenty years.
But there he is. Sitting across from me on the air rail car. Me, Jasper Adams, riding the rails with an alien—a real live Tunneler—on my way home from school.
It must be a sign. I mean, what are the odds I’d have a close encounter with an alien the day before I ship out to the space station?
The alien’s lips pucker in a perfect circle and then whip back. A snarl bubbles out of his throat. Errr. Arrr. Kleek. Kleek. Arrr. Kit. Ahhh.
I’m staring at his mouth, when a mechanical voice makes me jump. “Can I help you?”
I spin around in my seat, looking for its source.
Kleek. Arrr. Kit. Arrr. “Yes, you. The boy who keeps staring like you’ve never seen an alien before. Can I help you?”
I didn’t notice the translator box hanging around the alien’s neck. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have stared.”
“It’s not a problem,” he says through the box. “I’m sure I would stare, too, if I encountered an Earthling on our home planet.”
That must mean it’s okay to look. The alien is small. It’s not like I’m one of the short kids, but I’m not that big for twelve, either. And I’m a lot taller than the alien. He has a long, rodentlike snout, bristly brown hair sprouting from every patch of skin, and is wearing dark glasses that curve around on the sides. The light probably bugs him, since Tunnelers live underground. He’s wearing the standard officer’s uniform—gray jumpsuit with slanted orange lettering: EF for Earth Force.
Soon I’ll be suiting up in my own Earth Force uniform. I leave for the space station in the morning. Maybe the alien will be on my flight.
“Do you work at the space station?” I ask.
“I do,” he says. “A group of us came down to help at the aeroport. The first batch of Bounders is shipping out to the new EarthBound Space Academy tomorrow. While I’m here, I thought I’d do some sightseeing. It’s my first trip to the planet.”
He’s here to help out for the Academy? Maybe I should tell him I’m a Bounder. I’ve never told anyone in my life. I mean, my parents know. And Addy knows, of course. She’s a Bounder, too. And all the doctors and scientists who I visit every year for testing know. But I’ve never told anyone. I’m not supposed to tell anyone. Mom has seared that into my brain. She won’t care if I tell the alien, though. I’ll probably see him at the space station. Plus, tomorrow the whole world will know anyway.
The alien hops off the bench. His upper half hunches forward. The Tunnelers have a different center of gravity than humans. They probably have to stoop to make the clearance in all those tunnels. “Nice chatting with you, Earth boy. This is my stop.”
“See ya.” I missed my chance to tell him. Oh well.
I scoot across the aisle to grab his window seat, and press my hand against the glass. Out the window, beyond the two hundred blocks of skyscrapers webbed together by the air rail, I glimpse the edge of the retaining wall. On the other side of that wall is the ocean. And ten miles out to sea is the Earth Force Aeronautical Port. Tomorrow I’ll board a passenger craft headed to the EarthBound Academy with the other Bounders. I’ll finally be with kids like me. I won’t feel like the alien on the air rail anymore.
Mom and Dad wanted Addy and me to grow up without the Bounder badge slapped across our chests, to lead a normal life. I might be clueless sometimes, but it’s not like I don’t know Bounders equal “not normal.” Bounders are so weird, scientists basically bred our genes out of the population decades ago. Kids like me were “undesirable”—whatever that means. From what I can tell, it just means different. Or, okay, I guess different with a few challenges. So I’ve spent my whole life—all twelve years of it—trying hard to act normal. Not like a B-wad.
But Mom and Dad don’t get that I wear the Bounder badge whether I tell or not. And it’s not all bad. I mean, being a Bounder means going into space. How cool is that? Scientists discovered people with genes like mine have the best brains for quantum space travel, or bounding, as everyone calls it. Even though the aeronauts have been piloting the quantum ships for years, they’re still not as good as they say the Bounders will be. That’s why they bred us. That’s why I was born.
The air rail jerks to a stop at the next platform, right in front of a wall-size billboard of the Paleo Planet. The huge landscape looks eerily like early Earth. Herds of mammothlike mammals range on fields bordered by spiky mountain peaks. Trips to the planet are supposed to start this summer as part of Earth Force’s new tourism plan. But lucky for me, a field trip to the Paleo Planet is the final event of the first Bounder tour of duty. In six weeks I’ll be right there, strolling through the high grass, hanging with the wildeboars.
I lean my head against the window and fix my gaze on the ocean. The skyscrapers blur together as we race by, and my mind drifts a whole day into the future. I’m standing on the aeroport flight deck with my family, watching the passenger craft lower slowly down in a straight vertical line. Smoke billows up in big shoots from its two front engines. Then the ramp lowers and Admiral Eames descends. She crosses directly to me with an outstretched hand.
Welcome to the EarthBound Academy, Jasper.
I spin around in my seat. Two kids from class stand in front of me—Dilly Epstein and Will Stevens. That’s weird. I didn’t even know they were on the rail.
“Jasper,” Dilly says, “wasn’t that your stop?”
My mind feels cluttered. Part of me is still thinking about Admiral Eames and the EarthBound Academy; the other part is trying to process what Dilly said.
“Your stop,” she says. “Don’t you live in Building 537? We just passed it.”
Oh no, not again. Now I’ll have to transfer to an inbound rail, which means I’ll be super late. As I jump out of my seat, half the stuff in my backpack scatters across the floor. I must’ve left it unzipped. Again.
“Really, Jasper,” Will says, “are you ever gonna get it together?”
Am I supposed to answer that?
Dilly crouches and helps me gather my things. When she passes me my clarinet case, Will bursts out laughing.
“Dill, we’ve gotta go,” he says. “It’s our stop. Let the freak fix his own problems.”
Dilly lifts her eyes to mine. I dive beneath the bench to retrieve an Evolution figure that escaped my bag. Why can’t I just look at her? Say something normal for once.
“B-wad,” Will mumbles as he steps out of the rail car.
Shut up, Will. I want to yell, scream, get in his face. But he’s gone.
Dilly slips between the doors as they close. I probably should’ve said thanks.
When they hear I’m headed to the EarthBound Academy, they’ll understand. They’ll know why I’m such a spaced-out klutz. A spaced-out klutz who was born to bound across the universe.
“Mom! Jasper’s home!” Addy yells as soon as I open the door. “Nice of you to show up, J. Mom’s battery is a bit overcharged, even for her. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Mom jets from the kitchen. She still wears her whites from the pediatric ward. “Hi, honey. Thank goodness you’re home. I was getting worried. How was school? Can I get you a snack? How are you feeling? Ready for your big day tomorrow? Are you holding it together?”
I never really know if I’m supposed to answer all those questions. They pile on top of one another in my mind. I rearrange them in their order of importance, or at least what I think is the right order of importance. But they just sit there, stacked up and dangling, so all I say is, “Hi, Mom.”
She dashes to the kitchen. Mom always moves fast, like she’s being timed. Like she’s competing in some secret race none of us are fast enough to run in. I follow her, figuring there’s something good in there. The smell of chocolate wafts through the apartment. “What are you making?”
“Your favorite, J-sweetie. Chocolate chip cookies.” She lifts a pan with a batch of cookies fresh from the oven.
“Cool. Thanks, Mom.” I grab a cookie and head to Addy’s room.
“Ever heard of knocking, B-wad?” Addy shoves her journal into her drawer and glares at me. I don’t blame her for not wanting to write on the webs. No privacy. She taught herself to print last year and keeps her journal hidden in her desk.
“Whatever.” I hop onto her bed and curl up my legs. Maximilian Sheek, one of the famous quantum aeronauts, stares back at me from the poster above Addy’s desk. She’s obsessed with Sheek. Addy and all her friends stream EFAN—the Earth Force Affairs Network—on the webs constantly, hoping for a glimpse of him.
We don’t talk at first, which is weird. For her. Addy is used to me being quiet, but she usually talks enough for both of us.
“I saw a Tunneler on the air rail today,” I say.
Addy doesn’t respond. Okay, that’s really weird. You don’t just run into a Tunneler every day. Chatty Addy should be all over it.
“What’s up?” I ask.
She shrugs. Her face sags until her mouth pinches down. “It’s just so unfair, Jasper. How come you get to do everything first?” She twirls her gold-brown hair around her pinky finger. We have the same hair, except on her it’s long and wavy, and mine is lopped off at my ears and always falling in my eyes.
“Sorry,” I say. And I really am sorry. I wish Addy were coming with me. “Next year, when you’re twelve, we’ll get to go to the EarthBound Academy together.”
Once the kids at school find out I’m a Bounder, they’ll know Addy must be a Bounder, too. They’ll know our parents are part of the Bounder Baby Breeding Program. Just like you need the right combination of genes to have a baby with blue eyes or red hair, our parents carry the dormant genes needed to have a Bounder baby.
Being a Bounder is definitely a mixed bag. All the kids I know wish they could be an aeronaut—the next Maximilian Sheek or Edgar Han or Malaina Suarez. That’s why they think it’s totally unfair only Bounders can train to be aeronauts from now on.
Dad says other kids are jealous. That’s why they say we’re freaks with abnormal genes. That’s why they call us B-wads. And trust me, it stinks. The kids at school call me a B-wad, and they don’t even know for sure I’m a Bounder.
Yeah, they’re probably jealous. But they’re not wrong. I am different. A lot of the time I’m lost in space. Even when I do pay attention, I can’t translate half of what my teachers say into my schoolwork. And don’t get me started on my klutz factor. The other kids don’t seem to have any trouble. It’s like they were all there when the handbook for life was passed out, and no one saved me a copy.
Does Addy feel the same way? I’m not sure. She always seems to have it together. A lot more than I do, anyway. Still, it might be rough for her once the other kids find out the truth. Addy has another year before she ships out to the space station. She has to wait through my first two tours of duty.
I try to think of something to make her feel better, but I blank. Addy’s the one who always knows what to say.
Dad peers in with a half-eaten cookie in his hand, letting me off the hook. “Okay, kids. Time for dinner. We need to get to bed early tonight. Jasper’s got a big day tomorrow.”
Dinner is awesome. Mom wins the kitchen gold medal. We have spaghetti and meatballs with sauce made from scratch, garlic bread slathered with butter and weighed down with greasy cheese, and more chocolate chip cookies, of course.
No one says much. Dad offers up some compliments about Mom’s cooking, and Addy and I shout out our agreement in between chews. I mean, the food really is good. We’re mostly just busy eating. But the silence curls at the edges, like something is trying to get out. Something thick and dark and heavy, like the shadow that hung over Addy earlier. Tomorrow everyone will know we’re Bounders. Tomorrow I’ll be gone.
The first tour of duty is only six weeks. I won’t be away that long. But when I come back, everything will have changed. I want to go. Really. I do. It’s just, things are pretty good the way they are. And everything about the space station will be new and different. What if the food is terrible?
After I get ready for bed, Mom, Dad, and Addy show up at my door. Even though I vetoed tuck-in sessions two years ago, I give a special, one-time exception. Addy slides in beside me, and my parents sit at the end of my bed. Dad tells one of his classic made-up tales about Horace the House Mouse and his silly space adventures that Addy and I used to be obsessed with when we were little. After the story, Mom shoos Addy out of the room, settles me under the covers, and plants a kiss on my forehead. Dad kisses me, too, then lingers in the doorframe for a moment after flipping my light switch.
Finally the door shuts, and I’m left alone. Three layers of blankets pile on top of me. It’s not cold, but I need the weight to fall asleep. I close my eyes, and I’m back on the flight deck. The sun’s glare off Admiral Eames’s medals is blinding.
I can hear Mom and Dad talking in the living room. Too loud. I try to shut out the noise. Will it be this loud in the space station dorms? Will I ever be able to sleep?
Mom’s voice swells as Dad urges her to whisper.
Mom: But I don’t get it. What on earth are a bunch of kids going to do?
Dad: We’ve been through this, Emma. Their minds are perfect for performing the quantum calculations. They’ll be better than the aeronauts at piloting the quantum ships.
Mom: Come on, Richard. That doesn’t make sense. They use computers for the quantum calculations.
Dad: Why can’t you let this go? We have two healthy, happy children. And Earth Force has assured us they’ll be safe. What more could we want?
Mom: Healthy, yes. Happy, I hope so. But they’re not typical kids. You don’t understand about these conditions. The old medical journals talk about attention problems, sensory difficulties, social challenges, impulsiveness, and many other potential issues.
Dad: I thought you told me Jasper and Addy didn’t have those conditions.
Mom: I’ve said there’s a lot of variation. And Bounders aren’t typically the most severe. But one thing is sure: it’s a big deal to reintroduce these genes.
Dad: How many times are we going to have this conversation?
Mom: You know there’s something they’re not telling us! What are we sending our baby into?
Baby? Please. Mom can be so dramatic. I pull the covers over my head and press my hands against my ears.
That kind of talk has been going on for years, and usually, I just ignore them. But really? On the night before I leave for the space station? Are they trying to make me nervous?
It doesn’t really touch me, though. Sure, part of me wants to stay here—safe at home with Mom and Dad, and especially Addy. But a bigger part of me wants to go. I’m a Bounder. I’ve always been a Bounder. I belong in space, bounding between the galaxies.
I close my eyes. See the passenger craft lowering onto the flight deck. Grab Admiral Eames’s outstretched hand.
There’s a knock at the door. What now? I ignore it. I figure it’s Mom, all emotional and wanting to give me another kiss my last night at home. The door isn’t locked. If she really has to see me, she can walk right in.
The mattress sags near my feet. I pull the blankets off my face and scoot back on my elbows. Addy sits at the foot of my bed. Her purple pajamas have a rip at the left knee. She sniffs, and I can tell she’s been crying. Then I see what she’s holding. Her rosewood violin lies across her thin legs.
“Wanna play?” she asks.
Something wells up in me, too. Geez. I haven’t cried in forever. I can’t remember the last time we played together. I thought Addy was done with the violin.
I pull my clarinet case from my closet and place it on the bed. I fit the pieces together and raise the reed to my lips. Addy draws her bow. She pulls, and a piercing hum fills the room. I join, finding a natural harmony, and we feel our way together through a haunting, melancholy tune.
Addy leaves as silently as she came. I lay my clarinet in its velvet case and close the lid. I step toward my closet to put it away, then change my mind. I set the case on top of the duffel bags Mom packed for the EarthBound Academy.
Reading Group Guide
A Reading Group and STEM Guide to
By Monica Tesler
About the Book
In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!
Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.
Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.
But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.
When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.
1. Discuss Jasper’s friendship with Cole and Lucy and how those relationships developed throughout the story.
2. Why was Jasper’s choice to bunk near Cole instead of Marco important and how did it affect him?
3. How do Jasper’s feelings about his pod change over the course of the story? How do Jasper’s feelings about his role in the pod change?
4. Jasper didn’t get his first choice of pod leader. Discuss his disappointment and how his pod ended up better overall for having Jon Waters as their leader.
5. How is Jasper bullied in the story? How does that relate to any personal experience with a bully or bullying incidents you have encountered?
6. Compare the kinds of teasing that Marco and Regis did. Relate it to a personal experience.
7. Explain how Jasper felt about the food and tell why.
8. Different kinds of competitions happened through the book. Describe them and explain why each one was so important.
9. Would the kind of travel through space described and used in the book ever happen in reality?
10. What part did the game Evolution play in the story and how?
11. Marco’s character showed up early in the book. Did he change as the story progressed? Did other characters’ opinions or impressions of him change? Was he an asset or liability to Jasper and the other pod members?
12. A special kind of glove improved the way Bounders could travel. How did the gloves relate to the aliens and the choices made by the scientists about taking and using that technology?
13. What sorts of activities put the Bounders in danger?
14. Are Bounders always treated kindly in the story? Discuss situations in which a non-Bounder treated a Bounder unkindly. Discuss situations in which a Bounder treated another Bounder unkindly. Does this relate to ways people today might be treated—especially those who may appear different? Conversely, discuss situations where someone was particularly kind to someone else in the story.
15. How does the name-calling by others affect the Bounders and why is the name B-wad considered insulting? What is the consequence of using terms today that insult groups of people?
16. Would you personally like to be a Bounder? Explain the reasons why or why not.
17. Discuss the special relationship between Mira and Jasper and the different ways it developed.
18. Marco and Jasper broke the rules early on in the story and continued to do so, even including their pod in one activity. What rules did they break? What effect does the information they learned have on the outcome of the book? Is it ever acceptable to break rules and why?
1. Compare the technology used in the Bounders book with the technology in the book Astrotwins, by astronaut Mark Kelly.
2. Review the NASA site and look at living conditions and activities on the International Space Station (ISS). Compare life today on a space station with Jasper’s day and experiences.
3. Look up the life cycle of a star and make a diagram illustrating the various stages in it. What stage is our sun in currently?
4. Read about Kepler-186f and the characteristics that it has. Explain what conditions life needs to develop on another planet.
5. Predict what kind of situations and problems could arise if you were to write a sequel about Jasper, his friends, and EarthBound Academy.
6. Develop questions about right and wrong and lead a discussion about ways right and wrong were portrayed in the book.
7. Develop and design a space station of your own. Include some of the items found in Bounders, but address all the needs a space traveler would have in a space station.
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter, PS2.B: Types of Interactions, LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms,
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, ESS1.A: The Universe and its Stars, ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System, ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter, PS2.A: Forces and Motion, PS2.B: Types of Interactions, PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation, LS1.D: Information Processing, LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans, LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms, LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits, LS3.B: Variation of Traits, LS4.B: Natural Selection, ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars, ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System, ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter, PS2.B: Types of Interactions, PS3.C: Relationship Between Energy and Forces, PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes, PS4.A: Wave Properties, PS4.B: Electromagnetic Radiation, PS4.C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation, LS1.A: Structure and Function, LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior, LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans, LS1.A: Structure and Function, LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits, LS3.B: Variation of Traits, LS4.B: Natural Selection, LS4.C: Adaptation, ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars, ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System, ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth, PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life, PS4.B Electromagnetic Radiation, ESS2.E: Biogeology, ESS3.A: Natural Resources
1. What parts of the book help explain the concept of gravity and in what ways does the book’s explanation differ from the scientific concept of gravity?
2. Why did the Bounders feel gravity while on the spacecraft even though they were in space with zero gravity?
3. How are Bounders genetically different from the other population members?
4. Research the Human Genome Project and how the information generated by the HGP will be beneficial for science and technology development.
5. As gene science continues to advance, what might be the benefit of knowing information about your genes? Can you see any downside to this knowledge? How might we protect the information? Who should make the rules regarding protection and disclosure?
6. In the book, genetic engineering is credited with both eliminating and later reintroducing the genes that create Bounders. Can you think of a real world example where this would be beneficial? Can you see any risks associated with using science in this way? How did eliminating the genes that created Bounders lead to problems for Earth?
7. In Bounders, the Paleo Planet showed a planet that was said to be similar to a long-ago Earth. What does the book say about the features and the life on it? Is it accurate to compare the life there with that of an early Earth? In what ways could they be compared?
8. Why would it be important for the Bounders to keep their hands off the animals in Paleo Planet?
9. Occludium was mined by the Tunnelers. How does this mineral resemble one of the existing elements we know today?
10. Explain why aliens existing in our universe might or might not be possible.
11. Part of Bounders takes place on a future Earth. How is Earth in Bounders different than Earth today? How are these differences important to the storyline?
12. Look up the distances of five stars nearest Earth and make a diagram or graph showing those distances.
13. Develop a simple food chain that might exist on the Paleo Planet.
ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems, LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms, LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World,
LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms, LS4.B: Natural Selection, Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology, ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
PS3.C: Relationship Between Energy and Forces, PS2.B: Types of Interactions, PS4.C: Information Technologies and Instrumentation, LS1.A: Structure and Function, ESS2.E: Biogeology, Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World
1. Read about aquaculture and identify what is needed to do this successfully. Explain why aquaculture would be useful for space travel.
2. Take a virtual tour of one of the space stations. Identify the technology used in it.
3. Read this Canadian astronaut’s description of how it felt to launch. Compare and contrast it to Jasper’s description of his launch.
4. Look up the definition of quantum. How does it apply to the way the Bounders travel?
ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems, Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World, Developing and Using Models, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions, ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution, Interdependence of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World, Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World, ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions, ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World, ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems
1. What kinds of problems must an engineer solve for a spacecraft to safely hold astronauts in space? Relate the design to issues that must also be addressed for reentry and in gravity when it’s on Earth.
2. Read about the gloves and how Jasper and his friends traveled. What engineering designs likely went into developing the gloves for space travel?
3. What was Gedney’s role in engineering and why were the Earth Force pod members in Jasper’s group fortunate to have him as one of their teachers?
Based on Common Core State Standards
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively, MP.4 Model with mathematics.
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively, 7.EE.3 Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively, MP.4 Model with mathematics, HSN-Q.A.1 Use units as a way to understand problems and to guide the solution of multi-step problems; choose and interpret units consistently in formulas; choose and
interpret the scale and the origin in graphs and data displays, HSN-Q.A.2 Define appropriate quantities for the purpose of descriptive modeling.
1. Military time operates on 24 hours rather than 12 hours. Determine an easy way to convert time back into 12 hours when using military time.
2. Look up the actual speed of light. Write and explain how FTL speed is explained in the book. Do you think spacecraft will ever go at that speed or higher? Explain your reasons.
3. The metric system is used in the book rather than the standard units we use in the US today. Look up how to convert metric to standard units. Look up your height and weight in metric units. Explain how the metric system differs from the units used in the US and what units are used to measure what.
Guide written by Shirley Duke, a children’s freelance writer.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I had the opportunity to read Monica Tesler's BOUNDERS, and it was such a fun book! It's the story of a young man named Jasper who is chosen to be part of a special group of space cadets who will be trained to travel anywhere in the universe - fast! But as Jasper undergoes training and gets to know his new pod, he learns that EarthForce hasn't been 100 percent honest with them. I think that kids who read this book are going to find a hero in Jasper. Jasper has difficulty paying attention in his training sessions. In working with students, I know many struggle with this in their own lives. I also loved the rest of his pod of cadets. I especially loved Mira. The pod really had to learn to work together to be successful. I also loved all of the different inventions and technology that Tesler dreamed up. I want to go train as a Bounder and zoom through the tubes and use the zippy backpacks (not the technical term). This book has non-stop action, adventure, awesome + inventive technology, and super-cool, unique characters. Young readers are going to see themselves in this book! I think kids are going to have such a blast reading this and will anxiously await the second installment (I know I am!) This is perfect for readers who love science/space, adventure, and awesome kids doing awesome things.
There is so much to love about Bounders. I read this phenomenal debut after purchasing it for my oldest son. I had to wait until my oldest son read it, and then read it a second time--this time to his younger brother. The world building is phenomenal, as is the way Tesler has her characters navigate the universal kid problems of belonging and friendships. At the heart of this book is a really beautiful message about how our differences are what makes us special. Everyone in my house was glad to discover this book was the first in a series. We can't wait for the next one! Definitely highly recommend!
I loved this book! I read an arc in return for a fair review, and I was so lucky I did. Bounders is about Jasper, a boy born in the Bounder Breeding Program in order to be one of the first generation to pilot FTL ships to "bound" through space. Now that he's reached 12 years old, he and the other first generations are shipped off to space for their first tour of duty, where they learn how to bound, how to use jet packs, and how to work together in small five person pods. But the Earth Force has been hiding something form the earth and from the Bounders, and Jasper and the other start to suspect that maybe they weren't born to be pilots but maybe weapons instead, in an oncoming, secret war with an alien species. I loved so much about this book. Jasper is so likeable. He's klutzy and has a hard time concentrating, with makes him a target of bullies on earth. But he's close with his family, especially his sister, and he's kind to other kids, including non-verbal Mira. And that is the thing I love MOST about this book, that all of the kids, all of the heroes, are neurodiverse. Some of them function better in social situations, some of them don't. And some of them, like Mira, can barely function on her own. And yet, all these kids are heroic, are strong, are wonderful, fully realized characters who grow and react realistically to both bad and good situations. They make mistakes like kids do, and they do the right things and the wrong things and learn. Throw in the awesome adventures of learning how to use jetpacks, of visiting a Paleo Planet, of bounding through space, and we're left with a wonderful adventure full of fun and heart.
If somebody had told me before I read BOUNDERS that Monica Tesler had managed to write a middle grade novel in which the entire premise is built on an understanding of quantum entanglement, I probably would have laughed in their face. But she did! There's some great science fictional world-building in here, but most of all it's SO MUCH FUN. There's a little bit of Ender's Game-style alien contact in here, a little bit of Harry Potter-style boarding school shenanigans, and the combination is a delightful space adventure story about a group of neurodiverse kids who come together thinking they are training for one kind of life, only to realize the world they're growing up into is very different and a lot more complicated than they ever knew. Jasper and the other kids are a delight--I especially love how their different ways of thinking and experiencing the world slowly evolved from being points of conflict to being the glue that holds their team together. I am intrigued by the hints of where the larger arc of the story can go in the future, especially with regard to the larger science fictional questions it asks about the ethics of exploration and first contact. But that makes it sound heavy and serious, and it really isn't. This is a fun book full of adventure and mischief and kids getting themselves into trouble--and, usually, getting themselves out again.
This was such a fun story! I was amazed by all the clever gadgets and world descriptions the author packed into this book. Most of all, I loved the character building. Each character had his/her own quirks and traits and it was so wonderful to watch them form friendships as they faced each challenge. Great read! And my son gave it 5 stars, A++. :)
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. In BOUNDERS, Jasper has grown up knowing he was slated to join the inaugural class of the Earth Force academy. But when he and his new friends discover a well-kept secret at the space station, the chase is on to figure out what's going on all while in the midst of learning cool new skills like fling with a space pack, and controlling atoms with super-techno gloves. Actually, I had trouble reading this book because my 11-yo kept stealing it from me. Every time I set it down, it mysteriously disappeared. :) Let's just say that if you have kids who love space and adventure, you need this book. Such a fun read! The world-building is awesome. The mystery keeps you turning pages. And despite it's future-world setting, these kids deal with problems all kids face: bullying, making friends, belonging, dealing with disabilities. I especially loved the idea that your differences make you special. I definitely recommend this book!
I was immediately absorbed in this engaging and exciting story about five kids who bond, uncover secrets, and develop amazing skills at a space academy they were literally born to attend. It's the kind of book you want to drop everything for and just lose yourself in for days and days and days. The main character Jasper is especially lovable, an unlikely hero with relatable flaws and unexpected strengths, and the other four in his "pod," while all totally different and distinct, were equally interesting and fun to follow through the story as they each developed and transformed. And naturally, I won't give away any spoilers, but the plot is full of danger, mysteries, and excitement! Monica Tesler has created a future world that's as fun as any fantasy, only way cooler! BOUNDERS is truly out of this world! I can't wait to recommend this book to every kid I know.
Out of this world. No, really! Debut author Tesler takes us beyond the Earth's atmosphere in the adventure-filled first book of a new series. Twelve-year-old Jasper is the first from his family to be a cadet in the Earth Force. Bred especially for this role as a "Bounder," Jasper and his new peers -- all of them neurodiverse -- have special capabilities that need to be honed in training. Along with his podmates -- some friends, some frenemies, and of course, one weirdo for good measure -- Jasper is tested in a variety of ways, far, far away from home. But when they stumble on something they never expected to see, they start to wonder if everything they've been told about the EarthBound Space Academy is actually true. Tesler's book reminds me a bit of Rick Riordan's successful series. I loved the camaraderie (and mostly friendly competition) between pod mates and the other pods. Likewise, I appreciated the inventive world-building. I spend so much time immersed in highly realistic stories, it was such a treat to step into a book that took place in a different world. As someone who doesn't typically read sci-fi, I'm always looking for a way to root myself in the story. Here, I found it with the relationships between the friends. I was super intrigued by Mira from the start, and appreciated seeing Jasper and his friends come to a different understanding with her over the course of the book.