Book Review: Journey to Justice: The Adventures of Spider and Ruby by Tanni Haas

It can be difficult, sometimes, to explain concepts to people of all ages in a way that can be easily understood. Especially when the concepts are as complicated as climate change and social justice. I think, though, that Tanni Haas does a very good job of exploring both those topics in a way that is inclusive for people of all ages. Not to mention the book is fun!

1. Thoughts on the plot

This book follows Spider, a HouseBoater who lives on the water with his family. His twin brother Luke gets arrested for leaving their designated area and taken to The Island. Spider goes after him, and meets Ruby, an AquaGrower, who lives in an underwater greenhouse. Together, they learn that this world of water that they inhabit was not always that way, and that their society is inherently unfair. But maybe they can change that…

I think the plot of this book is actually quite inventive, given the two topics that are the primary focus of the book. The plot never felt predictable, though it wasn’t so unfamiliar that I was at all lost. I liked it quite a bit.

2. Thoughts on the characters

Spider and Ruby are interesting characters, I think, especially as far as heroes go. They’re sort of outsiders, at least from the main society on The Island, and have to navigate a new world while also keeping in mind how to fix their own. I think they were perhaps a little stereotypical, in that they seemed to fulfil their roles without having a fully-formed personality of their own, but frankly I still enjoyed reading about them.

3. Favourite part

The inventiveness of the world is absolutely my favourite part. Figuring out how everything works together in a world where the planet it 99% water is very interesting, especially moving from a water-going setting to a land-dwelling one. Well done.

4. Critique

There were, unfortunately, a few logic issues in this book. Granted, it’s middle grade, so you don’t need to have the answers to the universe at your finger tips. However, there were a few small issues, such as how Spider could have lived to the age of 12 by only consuming fish (essential nutrients being missing and such). Also, the time Luke was in prison was only a matter of days, yet the skills he learned were long in the making. There were several other little things like that (such as how Ruby knew how to swim). None of them broke the plot in any way, but they were enough to make me think outside the story.

Overall, I would say Journey to Justice: The Adventures of Spider and Ruby was a fun, entertaining book that had a good message at heart. I enjoyed it. A good book.