Book Reviews

Review: Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation by Sylvia Liu

You know those stories you read and think, “if I was reading this at a younger age, I would have made this my entire personality”. (Or is that just me??) That’s how I felt while reading Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation. This middle grade STEM heroine release would have thrilled MG me! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Hana Hsu can’t wait to be meshed.

If she can beat out half her classmates at Start-Up, a tech school for the city’s most talented twelve-year-olds, she’ll be meshed to the multiweb through a neural implant like her mom and sister. But the competition is fierce, and when her passion for tinkering with bots gets her mixed up with dangerous junkyard rebels, she knows her future in the program is at risk.

Even scarier, she starts to notice that something’s not right at Start-Up—some of her friends are getting sick, and no matter what she does, her tech never seems to work right. With an ominous warning from her grandmother about being meshed, Hana begins to wonder if getting the implant early is really a good idea.

Desperate to figure out what’s going on, Hana and her friends find themselves spying on one of the most powerful corporations in the country—and the answers about the mystery at Start-Up could be closer to home than Hana’s willing to accept. Will she be able to save her friends—and herself— from a conspiracy that threatens everything she knows?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation is an amazing middle grade release. It is full of almost non-stop action which has Hana unraveling the secrets behind her technology mishaps and the corporations around them. I loved Hana! This middle grade featuring a STEM heroine manages to cleverly question the technology around them. To realize that when we broadcast our entire lives we begin to curate our feeds, to open ourselves up to influence. As someone who’s been thinking about exactly that, it feels almost chilling.

But Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation asks important and timely questions about the role of technology in our lives. This science fiction MG book brings to the surface what I love about SF. The questions that technology and power illicit. At the same time, Liu tells a story which is chock full of video game references and touches making it perfect for a middle grade audience. I love how Liu is able to bring these important discussions of ethical technology with fast paced action for MG readers.

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I cannot stress how intelligent and clever Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation is. And it never feels bogged down in SF terminology or even thematic exploration. Liu delivers an action rich adventure story with virtual reality and heists! It’s also a story about these glimmers of friendships. And the ways that family can love and disappoint us. The lengths people will go to for their beliefs. Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation should be a gift for the SF obsessed MG readers in your life. Find Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What’s your favorite SF MG?

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