Rod and his schoolmates are about to embark on a survival journey – the final journey of their class, and the one that will test their endurance and pit their strength against both the elements and each other. One by one they are sent to a wild terrain – one that could very well be on a different world, for all they know. For somewhere between two to ten days, they will have to live in this world, doing their best to survive amongst unfamiliar plants and animals, with their own classmates as well as several other unknown students on the same survival trip becoming part of the possible threat. Rod is almost certain that he can handle the challenge, and at first, he seems to be right. Then a discovery is made that that changes everything: something has gone wrong. The destination that they have reached is not where they are supposed to be. With no rescue in sight, Rod and several others try to band together to figure out how to live, but it soon becomes clear that not everyone wants to go along and get along.
I was really excited to read this book, believing it would be something like Lord of the Flies…IN SPACE! I was mistaken. Parts are interesting from a sociological standpoint – watching these kids struggle to form a society while barely understanding how such a thing works was interesting – but mostly I was just bored. Conflicts were settled primarily by talking them out – who does that? – and the real danger was just surviving the elements. But even that was kind of dull, to be honest. I think that the problem for me was Heinlein’s writing style. Rod’s narration felt too removed from the action. Even when he got angry, it was only a vague sort of anger, and he managed to conquer or suppress it fairly quickly. I did like the reaction he had at the end, though, which I won’t reveal because spoilers. I will say it seemed very in character. Overall, it wasn’t bad or good. It was just…okay.