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Holdout

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When evil forces are going unchecked on Earth, a principled astronaut makes a spilt-second decision to try to seek justice in the only place she knows how—the International Space Station. Walli Beckwith is a model astronaut. She graduated at the top of her class from the Naval Academy, had a successful career flying fighter jets, and has spent more than three hundred days i When evil forces are going unchecked on Earth, a principled astronaut makes a spilt-second decision to try to seek justice in the only place she knows how—the International Space Station. Walli Beckwith is a model astronaut. She graduated at the top of her class from the Naval Academy, had a successful career flying fighter jets, and has spent more than three hundred days in space. So when she refuses to leave her post aboard the International Space Station following an accident that forces her fellow astronauts to evacuate, her American and Russian colleagues are mystified. For Walli, the matter at hand feels all too clear and terrifying for her to be worried about ruining her career. She is stuck in a race against time to save a part of the world that seems to have been forgotten, and also the life of the person she loves the most. She will go to any length necessary, using the only tool she has, to accomplish what she knows is right.


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When evil forces are going unchecked on Earth, a principled astronaut makes a spilt-second decision to try to seek justice in the only place she knows how—the International Space Station. Walli Beckwith is a model astronaut. She graduated at the top of her class from the Naval Academy, had a successful career flying fighter jets, and has spent more than three hundred days i When evil forces are going unchecked on Earth, a principled astronaut makes a spilt-second decision to try to seek justice in the only place she knows how—the International Space Station. Walli Beckwith is a model astronaut. She graduated at the top of her class from the Naval Academy, had a successful career flying fighter jets, and has spent more than three hundred days in space. So when she refuses to leave her post aboard the International Space Station following an accident that forces her fellow astronauts to evacuate, her American and Russian colleagues are mystified. For Walli, the matter at hand feels all too clear and terrifying for her to be worried about ruining her career. She is stuck in a race against time to save a part of the world that seems to have been forgotten, and also the life of the person she loves the most. She will go to any length necessary, using the only tool she has, to accomplish what she knows is right.

30 review for Holdout

  1. 5 out of 5

    Book Clubbed,

    Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. Listen to the full review at: https://bookclubbed.buzzsprout.com/ Space, despite what we tend to assume, is quite boring. This has been proven by the endless movies and novels set in the next great frontier. You float around a spaceship (which all look the same), the missions outside are tense but hard to convey (because the astronauts are slowly bobbing up and down in a black void), and the themes are predictable (isolation, fear of the unknown, running out Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. Listen to the full review at: https://bookclubbed.buzzsprout.com/ Space, despite what we tend to assume, is quite boring. This has been proven by the endless movies and novels set in the next great frontier. You float around a spaceship (which all look the same), the missions outside are tense but hard to convey (because the astronauts are slowly bobbing up and down in a black void), and the themes are predictable (isolation, fear of the unknown, running out of resources, etc). This is a perfectly competent book, one that your dad will read and then forget the name of by next week when you ask him on the phone what he’s been up to. Every character is 2-dimensional, if they are lucky enough to receive a second dimension. The plot, unfortunately, is not compelling. We see a deux ex machina right off the bat, as our MC uses a rare space collision to launch a spontaneous protest against the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Holdout contains one of the worst endings of all time, hinging on the US government voting to do the “right” thing, which is hilarious, casting bought-and-paid members of Congress as reasonable representatives of the peoples’ whims. Even worse, the emotional leverage our MC generates is used to spur action through…wait for it… US military invention. When has US military invention gone well? This is our strategy? Are we going to nuke the amazon to save it? This is all before we acknowledge how offensive and belittling it is to assume we can only appeal to the United States, instead of, you know, the people of Brazil, which happens to be the country affected. Yeah, I’m sure any South American country would welcome an imperial colonizer to control and distribute their land as they saw fit. Sounds rational.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Marisha Lunde (MarishaReadsALot)

    "Sonia could have been Brazilian--even Guarani. She was born of an American father and a Mexican mother, but the American part was hard to spot." *sigh* SURELY an author who can write about the intricacies of SPACESHIPS should know that nationality does not equate to ethnic heritage??? As if someone who is American could not possibly be a person of color? Anyone who has ever been asked "But where are you FROM from?" will feel me on this one. I won't lie, it was hard to even want to give this a cha "Sonia could have been Brazilian--even Guarani. She was born of an American father and a Mexican mother, but the American part was hard to spot." *sigh* SURELY an author who can write about the intricacies of SPACESHIPS should know that nationality does not equate to ethnic heritage??? As if someone who is American could not possibly be a person of color? Anyone who has ever been asked "But where are you FROM from?" will feel me on this one. I won't lie, it was hard to even want to give this a chance after encountering this in chapter two. Alas, I persevered. But it truthfully wasn't worth it, and I don't even know how to write a legitimate review, so please enjoy the rest of the notes I took while finishing this book: -The story is super disjointed so far... having a hard time engaging. -I legitimately can't read more than a page without getting distracted. -Oh neat a reference to civil engineering (my degree)--most exciting part of the book so far! -Feels like the President in this book is being likened to 45... didn't I already live through that once? Was that not enough? -Even the dialogue between family members feels stilted, oddly scientific, and completely detached. -I'm not even sure how to word this. I understand the connection between all these characters, but they just don't mesh. There is no cohesiveness to all these storylines. -This feels less like a "space thriller" (i.e. The Martian, which I loved) and more political. I know what you're thinking: "If you disliked this book so much why not DNF??" Fair question. As a general rule, I typically do not review books I don't finish, as it feels unfair of me. I really wanted to make a point of bringing up the nationality vs. ethnic heritage thing and I could not do that without finishing the book. All that said, thanks still to NetGalley, Dutton, and Jeffrey Kluger for providing me an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    *3.5 stars rounded up. If you are a fan of Andy Weir's books, I think you will enjoy this space adventure too--a first fiction novel by journalist and space expert, Jeffrey Kluger. Three astronauts, two Russians and one American woman scientist named Walli Beckwith, are on an International Space Station, awaiting the next supply shipment. The docking goes awry and the three are injured, the station damaged. The crew is ordered to return to earth but Walli stays behind, saying simply, "I prefer n *3.5 stars rounded up. If you are a fan of Andy Weir's books, I think you will enjoy this space adventure too--a first fiction novel by journalist and space expert, Jeffrey Kluger. Three astronauts, two Russians and one American woman scientist named Walli Beckwith, are on an International Space Station, awaiting the next supply shipment. The docking goes awry and the three are injured, the station damaged. The crew is ordered to return to earth but Walli stays behind, saying simply, "I prefer not to." Everyone wants to know why and eventually Walli makes a statement for all the world to hear--it's a protest over something terrible that is happening back on earth. Soon she is a social media star with a huge following and people organizing protests to support her cause. Meanwhile, Walli's niece Sonia, who has just finished four years at Baylor College of Medicine, is working for Health on Wings and volunteering in the midst of the problem area, sending dire reports to her aunt in space. Don't be afraid--there is lots of science and technical stuff but it doesn't get in the way of a good story. Kluger has created two very strong, intelligent, stubborn characters in these two women. They face one disaster after another, often forced to make quick decisions to save themselves and others. The rest of the cast of characters are well developed as well, but those two woman make the book worth reading. The topic is a timely one: the earth and its inhabitants being endangered by giant greed. There is lots of exciting, edge-of-your seat action so I dare to predict a movie will be made someday. Good script material! I received an arc of this thriller from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    Wow, What. A. Ride! I read the synopsis and saw the words astronaut and space station, and that the author was Jeffrey Kluger. I was all in. I loved his Lost Moon: The Perilous Journey of Apollo 13 (the movie Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks was based on the book) and read it several times. So when I saw that Kluger was trying his hand at fiction, I knew I had to read it. I don’t typically read non-fiction so if I loved a non-fiction so much that it’s one of my favorite space books, well, I was sure his Wow, What. A. Ride! I read the synopsis and saw the words astronaut and space station, and that the author was Jeffrey Kluger. I was all in. I loved his Lost Moon: The Perilous Journey of Apollo 13 (the movie Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks was based on the book) and read it several times. So when I saw that Kluger was trying his hand at fiction, I knew I had to read it. I don’t typically read non-fiction so if I loved a non-fiction so much that it’s one of my favorite space books, well, I was sure his fiction would be good. And yes. Yes it was! Walli and her two Russian crewmates on the space station experience a collision with a supply ship and have to evacuate the space station. But Walli makes the decision to stay behind as the sole astronaut and hijacks the space station. Meanwhile, back on earth in the Amazon, a young American doctor is caught up in fires destroying the jungle and killing or displacing the tribes. For the first half of the book, I’ll be honest and wasn’t sure it was my cup of tea. It was very political and… a bit boring. I was in because of the space bits and there was not much there. But oh my… Halfway through, Holdout kicked it into high gear and the action never stopped, both on the space station and in the Amazon. I was on the edge of my seat and stayed up way past my bedtime to flip pages as fast as I could. Probably not the book to read when I was trying to wind down and go to sleep. Holdout had my heart racing that entire 2nd half of the book. I was pretty emotional at the end and ended up LOVING this story. Jeffrey Kluger is now one of my new favorite fiction writers!! If you enjoy Andy Weir’s books, I think you’ll enjoy this story. *Thank you so much to Dutton Books and NetGalley for the advance copy!*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    Author Jeffrey Kluger is clearly adept at writing about NASA space procedure and science and making it understandable for the average reader. The book itself is very well-written and his writing style is clear but to the point of being antiseptic. Perhaps that works for hard science/space fans, but it didn't totally resonate with me. There's plenty of great written action and a strong overarching message, plus he does a great job at jumping between the two major storylines. Overall, it's a fun r Author Jeffrey Kluger is clearly adept at writing about NASA space procedure and science and making it understandable for the average reader. The book itself is very well-written and his writing style is clear but to the point of being antiseptic. Perhaps that works for hard science/space fans, but it didn't totally resonate with me. There's plenty of great written action and a strong overarching message, plus he does a great job at jumping between the two major storylines. Overall, it's a fun read but I did have some problems with the characters that prevented it from being a home-run for me. While Holdout offers two female heroines, I found myself not really connecting with either of them. The characters developed too slowly for me (pacing overall was slow) and made it a bit difficult to really care about their fates. My first emotional connection to Walli didn't happen until 3/4 of the way through the book when she contracts e-coli. I never got there at all with the supporting lead of Sonia. Towards the end, it felt a bit like checking boxes: smart female leads, and environmental cause, a dash of action and put it all in space. I also never totally bought Walli's motivation for remaining in the Space Station. I found it hard to believe that a career military officer would have ever defied orders and a structure she believes in, created an international incident (a problem in itself for the greater good), and that she would have done it as a lone wolf. Holdout it a good, well-written book, and I think fans of the genre will enjoy it but it just fell a little short on characters for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Grace (Azrael865)

    There are situations in our world that are wrong. You become aware of them, but are unable to do much to make a change. This is the position Belka 'Walli' Beckwith finds herself in. Her niece, Sonia, is a doctor, with a group bringing aid to the tribes spread throughout the Amazon in Brazil. Through Sonia, Walli learns that fires are being deliberately set and the indigenous population is being harmed and displaced. All Walli can do is express that intervention is needed, but no one is listening There are situations in our world that are wrong. You become aware of them, but are unable to do much to make a change. This is the position Belka 'Walli' Beckwith finds herself in. Her niece, Sonia, is a doctor, with a group bringing aid to the tribes spread throughout the Amazon in Brazil. Through Sonia, Walli learns that fires are being deliberately set and the indigenous population is being harmed and displaced. All Walli can do is express that intervention is needed, but no one is listening. Then Walli is given an opportunity that she couldn't have planned on. She is on the international space station, in a joint Russian and United States research mission, when an accident causes the order to come home early. In a moment of decision Walli makes her stand when she states, "I would prefer not to," With her new found media attention drawing all the world to listen to what she is advocating for, Walli is the eye in the sky, watching the developments in the Brasilian Amazon. Caught between the willful indifference of the political leaders of one nation and the greed of the leader of another, it is a race against time as things reach a critical level. Will the necessary vote be reached? The Jeffrey Kluger's story telling is realistic and detailed. I found myself looking up (Googling) various aspects of the story and finding similar events that happened in real life. This was confirmed at the end f the story where the author explains that many events are closely base on real happenings. Very well done. Thank you to Dutton for the invitation to read this thought provoking e-Arc through Netgalley.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Lewis

    **Thank you to NetGalley for an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions remain 100% my own** This was NOT what I thought it was. This was described to me as being great for fans of Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary...and I did not see the things I love from Weir in this novel at all. Where I was expecting a semi-tense, space focused sci-fi, I got a slightly disjointed story about the horrors and destruction of the Amazon and it's people. Don't get me wrong, I honestly felt more intereste **Thank you to NetGalley for an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions remain 100% my own** This was NOT what I thought it was. This was described to me as being great for fans of Andy Weir's Project Hail Mary...and I did not see the things I love from Weir in this novel at all. Where I was expecting a semi-tense, space focused sci-fi, I got a slightly disjointed story about the horrors and destruction of the Amazon and it's people. Don't get me wrong, I honestly felt more interested in the Amazon storyline than the space one, but overall the stories did not feel as if they meshed well together. I felt jerked out of one storyline like I was being thrown into a different book altogether. This will probably work for some people, but this was not for me. I couldn't connect with the characters, and I felt myself lacking in investment when it came to the plot. This left me feeling like I didn't want to pick this up and read it at all, and I found myself reaching for other books instead.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    3 Stars Astronaut Walli Beckwith is aboard a space station with her two fellow Russian colleagues when an arriving shuttle to restock their station malfunctions, crashing into the station. All three astronauts suffer injuries, but when they are commanded to abandon ship and board an escape shuttle to bring them back to earth, Walli refuses to leave. The world waits as Walli promises to reveal the explanation for her “holdout.” This book was definitely out of my comfort zone in terms of genre an 3 Stars Astronaut Walli Beckwith is aboard a space station with her two fellow Russian colleagues when an arriving shuttle to restock their station malfunctions, crashing into the station. All three astronauts suffer injuries, but when they are commanded to abandon ship and board an escape shuttle to bring them back to earth, Walli refuses to leave. The world waits as Walli promises to reveal the explanation for her “holdout.” This book was definitely out of my comfort zone in terms of genre and definitely not what I expected. I was expecting more of a science fiction novel and got a lot more politics than I was bargaining for. I really enjoyed all of the chapters focused on Walli, as well as the chapters focused on the second main character (who isn’t revealed in the cover description, so I won’t spoil it here), but every time the focus switched to politics or law the book dragged for me. That being said, the entire book was well written and I think definitely would appeal to those with interests in those subjects. My one big pet peeve with this book is that it definitely needed someone in the medical profession to proof-read it. I was irked by an early comment in the book where a doctor comments that she is supposed to as a practitioner feel “dispassion” for her patients- we are absolutely not trained to do this- in fact there is SO much emphasis on connecting with our patients and remembering that we are treating a person and not just another task or job. Sometimes we may look like we aren’t experiencing intense emotions with tough situations but that is because we are practiced at not revealing them while at work. I’m a former ER nurse and trust me- we feel plenty of empathy and gut-wrenching sorrow for our patients. There were some other small medical errors, but one MAJOR one at the conclusion that blew my mind: (view spoiler)[ bacterial meningitis is not only deadly but HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS and zero efforts were made to protect the people who retrieve Walli once she lands back on earth. We’ve got people hugging all over her with zero masks, gowns, etc on to protect themselves from a deadly disease… (hide spoiler)] Many thanks to Penguin and Netgalley who provided me with an advanced reader copy of Holdout.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessi

    This book has a unique mix of space, politics, and environmental issues. I went in expecting mostly a space centered story and found that to only be about a quarter of the content. Jumping back and forth through themes was a bit of a struggle and made the book feel clunky and scattered. I wanted to know what happened so it did at least catch my attention enough to see it though but I felt like I was slugging through most of it . What I did enjoy was reading about one of the main characters in the This book has a unique mix of space, politics, and environmental issues. I went in expecting mostly a space centered story and found that to only be about a quarter of the content. Jumping back and forth through themes was a bit of a struggle and made the book feel clunky and scattered. I wanted to know what happened so it did at least catch my attention enough to see it though but I felt like I was slugging through most of it . What I did enjoy was reading about one of the main characters in the Amazon and the important message of saving the environment. Although it didn’t work well for me, this is a well written book that I can see fans of a realistic sci-fi space-stories enjoying. Thanks to Penguin Random House and Netgalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    When it comes to outer space, Jeffrey Kluger knows his stuff. Not only has he written other space novels like APOLLO 13 and APOLLO 8, he consulted on and appeared in the Oscar-nominated Tom Hanks film Apollo 13. Kluger’s latest book, HOLDOUT, is set mostly in space at the International Space Station and involves a nice mix of thrills, high adventure and ecologically fueled political intrigue that supplies the story with a great moral backdrop. It opens with a sentence that immediately hooks the r When it comes to outer space, Jeffrey Kluger knows his stuff. Not only has he written other space novels like APOLLO 13 and APOLLO 8, he consulted on and appeared in the Oscar-nominated Tom Hanks film Apollo 13. Kluger’s latest book, HOLDOUT, is set mostly in space at the International Space Station and involves a nice mix of thrills, high adventure and ecologically fueled political intrigue that supplies the story with a great moral backdrop. It opens with a sentence that immediately hooks the reader: “Walli Beckwith had no way of knowing that she probably had just under an hour to live.” At that moment Walli is sharing the International Space Station with two male Russian astronauts who are not privy to the serious agenda she has hidden way up the sleeve of her spacesuit. With their mission complete, the trio is preparing to head to the Soyuz ship for their flight back to earth. But Walli surprises her colleagues by stating that she cannot go with them, and there is nothing they can say or do to change her mind. Vasily Zhirov does all he can to convince her otherwise, but he and Walli are Navy graduates, so he respects how strong-willed and stubborn that makes them. As a result, the Russians jump in the Soyuz and return without her. Walli now owns the spotlight of the world’s media, as well as the U.S. and Russian governments, and she plans to use this stage to unveil her agenda that drove her to make this controversial and potentially dangerous decision. Walli’s “holdout” is in defiance of the program known as the Consolidation, whereby Bobo-deCorte, Brazil’s president, is overseeing the commercialization and destruction of the great resources of the rainforest in a way that would advance the agendas of some greedy corporations and governments. Walli is demanding that this stop before she decides to turn the International Space Station back over to the world governments and come back to Earth. Meanwhile, Walli’s niece, Sonia, is in the midst of a Brazilian rainforest that is currently burning, and the entire continent is in danger --- which Walli swears she is able to see from her vantage point in space. Walli feels less like a hijacker than a lighthouse keeper --- one who might have refused to leave the lighthouse when she was told, but is a menace to no one. The President of the United States makes a promise to act accordingly and promote her agenda by standing up to the Brazilian president and the corporations behind the Consolidation. However, the U.S. president and government have their own agenda. They understand that if Walli survives, she will be a nuisance. But if she does not, she will be an unstoppable legend. HOLDOUT will keep you hanging on right up until the final pages as Kluger deftly manages to keep the high-octane thrills and the threat to the burning rainforest going all the way through to the dramatic finale. Reviewed by Ray Palen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    4 Stars This was a fantastic and action-packed read. The author is a respected author and a writer for Time magazine. He most especially specializes in science coverage/space travel. With that said, you can be sure that this book was researched within an inch of its life...and it shows. Unfortunately, with some of this book, I had to suspend disbelief in several parts. Some of the info dumps bogged me down a tad also. However, the rest of this novel was so fascinating that there was no way I could 4 Stars This was a fantastic and action-packed read. The author is a respected author and a writer for Time magazine. He most especially specializes in science coverage/space travel. With that said, you can be sure that this book was researched within an inch of its life...and it shows. Unfortunately, with some of this book, I had to suspend disbelief in several parts. Some of the info dumps bogged me down a tad also. However, the rest of this novel was so fascinating that there was no way I could give this book less than the 4 stars I did give it. I powered through this book like a tornado. We have it all, including: Space accident Rebellion against the US government. Hijacking of the International Space Station Crimes against humanity Meningitis Fires in Amazon Basin to get the tribes off of tribal lands More space trouble with the Space Station...oh my! What more could you ask for? I'm not usually one for something so scientific, but this book had me reading and wishing I didn't have to sleep! ARC supplied by the publisher, the author, and NetGalley -ATTL/Edelweiss.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ta || bookishbluehead

    After finishing Project Hail Mary I was looking for my next Sci-Fi fix. Holdout seemed to be just the book for that. Sadly, it couldn’t live up to my high expectations. A lot of things I loved about PHM I just couldn’t find in this book. The story was boring, and it needed a lot of will to power through. Especially the parts I though would be most exciting, e. g. everything in space, were the parts I was most disappointed and disinterested in. The Amazon storyline was the far more interesting par After finishing Project Hail Mary I was looking for my next Sci-Fi fix. Holdout seemed to be just the book for that. Sadly, it couldn’t live up to my high expectations. A lot of things I loved about PHM I just couldn’t find in this book. The story was boring, and it needed a lot of will to power through. Especially the parts I though would be most exciting, e. g. everything in space, were the parts I was most disappointed and disinterested in. The Amazon storyline was the far more interesting part of this story, but I felt like both stories didn’t fit that great together and were just put together by sheer force. Sometimes the book felt more like a political thriller than the sci-fi adventure I was promised. The characters weren’t for me either. I didn’t care for both and couldn’t build a connection with them. Walli’s reasons to stay on the station felt strange and out of character. The way she was described and characterized didn’t seem to fit with how she acted. The writing style was okay, I can’t say anything bad about that at all. I think there will be people who enjoy this book, it just wasn’t the perfect fit for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dive Into A Good Book

    The Holdout is a high intensity, intriguing read. The book is told through two incredibly strong, tenacious women. Walli Beckwith a high-ranking naval commander, who is an astronaut on the International Space Station. The other her niece, Sonia, who is a no-nonsense doctor working deep in the Amazon Rainforest. She is seeing firsthand the horrors that are being put upon the indigenous peoples who live here. The absolute devastation brought on by the fires and the cruel displacement that is occur The Holdout is a high intensity, intriguing read. The book is told through two incredibly strong, tenacious women. Walli Beckwith a high-ranking naval commander, who is an astronaut on the International Space Station. The other her niece, Sonia, who is a no-nonsense doctor working deep in the Amazon Rainforest. She is seeing firsthand the horrors that are being put upon the indigenous peoples who live here. The absolute devastation brought on by the fires and the cruel displacement that is occurring. Being brought on when politics and money come to play. Even though the Holdout is a work of fiction, you can tell that countless hours were spent gathering and researching both the NASA and Russian space programs and what is currently happening within the majestic confines of the rainforest. Jeffrey Kluger does a fantastic job bringing you into the everyday life of an astronaut living on the Space Station. The incredible bond they have and the relentless thirst for knowledge and the drive it took to get them here. When Walli goes rogue and politely declines a ride back to earth after an incident occurs. Damaging not only the Space Station but causing serious damage to one of the Russian astronauts. You know you are in for the ride of your life. If you are fascinated by space travel, the inner workings of politics and how that has led to the destruction of the Amazon, and the playing out on the international stage. Accompanied by two determined, headstrong women who bring it upon themselves to bring these issues to light. I was intrigued and completely mesmerized by this book. The information that is contained within its covers is astounding. Keep in mind it is extremely information driven, which I love. Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton for allowing me to read this thought provoking, sit on the edge of your seat, page turner. This is one you will not want to miss.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Lost interest half-way though. The story didn't seem plausible and I didn't connect with the main character. I received an AR ebook for an honest review via NetGalley. Lost interest half-way though. The story didn't seem plausible and I didn't connect with the main character. I received an AR ebook for an honest review via NetGalley.

  15. 5 out of 5

    April

    Space dramas are at the top of my must read list every time. I thought, this one would be the kind of science heavy storyline that I'd been looking for. Instead the plot is political (slaughter and rights of indigenous peoples). Very important topics, I just didn't expect it here. Walli Beckwith is an American astronaut on the International Space Station navigating a disaster. The book starts by immediately grabbing the reader's attention with a space collision which causes a breach in the hull. Space dramas are at the top of my must read list every time. I thought, this one would be the kind of science heavy storyline that I'd been looking for. Instead the plot is political (slaughter and rights of indigenous peoples). Very important topics, I just didn't expect it here. Walli Beckwith is an American astronaut on the International Space Station navigating a disaster. The book starts by immediately grabbing the reader's attention with a space collision which causes a breach in the hull. However that's not what this is about. The slow unraveling of what the Consolidation is and why Walli decides to hijack the ISS in the wake of the collision, in all it's complexity, takes the beginning third of the book. I confess I was not expecting a space humanitarian protest. It's at this point that the author started to lose me. The writing itself is stellar, the subject matter (hijacking the space station) just seemed unbelievable frankly. Then the fact that in the midst of these Amazonian terrorist fires Walli's own doctor "daughter" Sonia is out there lighting her own "Welcome" fire for her mom to see from space was preposterous. I'm not sure how to rate this. I like the originality of it, if it were an action based plotline but not so much for a political drama. "'Is she all right?' 'Yes...but she stole' -here he paused for a ragged breath- 'she stole the space station'"

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ray Palen

    When it comes to outer space, author Jeffrey Kluger knows his stuff. Not only has he written other space novels like APOLLO 13 and APOLLO 8, but he also consulted on and appeared in the Oscar-nominated Ron Howard film, Apollo 13. His latest novel, HOLDOUT, is set mostly in space at the international space station and involves a nice mix of thrills, high adventure, and ecologically fueled political intrigue which supplies the story with a great moral backdrop. It opens with a first sentence that i When it comes to outer space, author Jeffrey Kluger knows his stuff. Not only has he written other space novels like APOLLO 13 and APOLLO 8, but he also consulted on and appeared in the Oscar-nominated Ron Howard film, Apollo 13. His latest novel, HOLDOUT, is set mostly in space at the international space station and involves a nice mix of thrills, high adventure, and ecologically fueled political intrigue which supplies the story with a great moral backdrop. It opens with a first sentence that immediately hooks the reader: “Walli Beckwith had no way of knowing that she probably had just under an hour to live.” She is at that moment in the novel sharing the international space station with two male Russian astronauts who have no idea about the serious hidden agenda she has hidden well up the sleeve of her spacesuit. With their mission completed, all three astronauts are preparing to head to the Soyuz, the return ship for their flight back to earth, when Walli suddenly surprises her colleagues by stating that she cannot go with them and that there is nothing they can do to change her mind. Vasily Zhirov does all he can to coax Walli to come with them, but they are both Navy and respect how strong-willed and stubborn that makes them --- making Zhirov accept the fact that he will not change her mind. On that point, the two Russians jump in the Soyuz and return without her. It is then when Walli has the spotlight of the world’s media as well as the U.S. and Russian governments, and she plans to use this stage to unveil her agenda which drove her to make this controversial and potentially dangerous decision. There is another plotline running throughout HOLDOUT that involves a woman named Sonia, who we later learn is both Walli’s niece and a Doctor working within the Brazilian rainforest. It is this location that will play a leading role in Walli’s controversial space station standoff with the governments of the world. Walli’s birth name was Belka, which she always hated, and it was ironically the name of one the name of a group of dogs that the Russian government had long before sent on a space mission. Whether she approved of the name or not, it indicated that she was fated to be in space. She graduated number two in her Navy class at Annapolis and NASA quickly came calling. Walli schedules a time to reveal to all why she did what she did, and the entire planet is in temporarily in the palm of her hands. With the world watching and listening, Walli reveals that the reason for her ‘holdout’ is in defiance of the program known as the Consolidation whereby Bobo de-Court, President of Brazil, is overseeing the commercialization and destruction of the great resources of the rainforest in a way that would advance the agendas of some greedy corporations and governments. Walli is demanding that this stop before she decides to turn the international space station back over to the world governments and return to Earth. Meanwhile, her niece is in the midst of the rainforest that is currently burning, and the entire continent is in danger --- a burning that Walli can swear she is able to see from her vantage point in space. Walli feels less like a hijacker than a lighthouse keeper --- one who might have refused to leave the lighthouse when she was told, but a menace to no one. The President of the United States makes a promise to act accordingly and promote her agenda by standing up the Brazilian President and the Corporations behind the Consolidation. However, the POTUS and the U.S. Government have their own agenda --- they understand that if Walli lives through this she will be a nuisance but is she should not survive the ordeal --- she’s an unstoppable legend. Kluger will not make this easy for Walli as he throws both a dangerous leak of ammonia gas into the space station --- forcing her to manage stepping outside the space station to save things --- along with a bout of meningitis and also having to be talked through how to man the Soyuz which was returned to her by the Russians. HOLDOUT will keep you hanging on right up until the closing pages as Kluger deftly manages to keep both the high-octane thrills along with the threat to the burning rainforest going all the way through the dramatic finale. Reviewed by Ray Palen for Book Reporter

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Holdout ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Walli Beckwith is a model astronaut. She graduated at the top of her class from the Naval Academy, had a successful career flying fighter jets, and has spent more than three hundred days in space. So when she refuses to leave her post aboard the International Space Station following an accident that forces her fellow astronauts to evacuate, her American and Russian colleagues are mystified. For Walli, the matter at hand feels all too clear and terrifying for her to be worried a Holdout ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Walli Beckwith is a model astronaut. She graduated at the top of her class from the Naval Academy, had a successful career flying fighter jets, and has spent more than three hundred days in space. So when she refuses to leave her post aboard the International Space Station following an accident that forces her fellow astronauts to evacuate, her American and Russian colleagues are mystified. For Walli, the matter at hand feels all too clear and terrifying for her to be worried about ruining her career. She is stuck in a race against time to save a part of the world that seems to have been forgotten, and also the life of the person she loves the most. She will go to any length necessary, using the only tool she has, to accomplish what she knows is right. *Thank you @duttonbooks for a #gifted copy! #DuttonPartner #Holdout * I was so excited when I received this in the mail! This book was definitely out of my comfort zone, and not a genre I have read a lot of books in. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did. There was a lot of science and technical terms, but I didn’t feel lost at all. Most of the plot seemed pretty believable, but it is fiction so even if some of it wasn’t it’s okay. I think this would make a great movie. It has everything I didn’t know I needed in this book, space, rebellion, hijacking, fires, and trouble with the international space station. If you’re a fan of Andy Weir’s books, you’ll like this too. It is packed with action and was highly intriguing! Holdout comes out August 3.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kaylea Gleason

    **thank you to Penguin Publishing for my ARC!** 3/5 🌟 HOLDOUT by Jeffrey Kluger was a surprisingly captivating read for me! I mean, when described as a cinematic science fiction book about a female astronaut helping save the world?? Yeah, count me in. I really admired Walli, the main character, for what she represents; a badass woman, smart as hell, and passionate to the point of stubbornness. I also loved Sonia (and of course Olí), the other main perspective in this book and how the storylines so **thank you to Penguin Publishing for my ARC!** 3/5 🌟 HOLDOUT by Jeffrey Kluger was a surprisingly captivating read for me! I mean, when described as a cinematic science fiction book about a female astronaut helping save the world?? Yeah, count me in. I really admired Walli, the main character, for what she represents; a badass woman, smart as hell, and passionate to the point of stubbornness. I also loved Sonia (and of course Olí), the other main perspective in this book and how the storylines soon link into one main narrative. One where both women, headstrong and passionate, work together (one from earth and one from space) to save both the environment and a people group from complete genocide. Typically when I see a man writing female POV novels, I worry about overgeneralizations, stereotyping, and male-gaze type issues to arise. I was pleasantly surprised at the absence of these factors. Additionally, Kluger is clearly very knowledgeable about space programs and it shows in this novel. You can tell he has done extensive research on this topic My biggest complaint with this novel is the lack of sci-fi elements. Yes, it's an astronaut, and yes it's in space, but that's pretty much all the sci-fi you get here. And maybe I misread the synopsis, but my expectation going into this book was much more ~astronaut saving the world from insidious aliens~ or something like that. I wished for more sci-fi like elements, exploration into the space side of things, and generally just more fleshed out time with the characters. But overall, it was a book that I genuinely enjoyed and read quickly! Check this book out when it releases on August 3rd!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Winter

    Thank you so much to @duttonbooks for providing me a finished copy of this book! I really enjoyed this one! Science fiction is not a genre I’ve read a lot of, however it’s becoming a new favorite of mine to read! I guess I’ve always been worried that the science part might be difficult to understand but the concepts are actually explained quite well, in this book especially, and it’s fascinating. In Holdout, astronaut Walli Beckwith is aboard the International Space Station with fellow Russian a Thank you so much to @duttonbooks for providing me a finished copy of this book! I really enjoyed this one! Science fiction is not a genre I’ve read a lot of, however it’s becoming a new favorite of mine to read! I guess I’ve always been worried that the science part might be difficult to understand but the concepts are actually explained quite well, in this book especially, and it’s fascinating. In Holdout, astronaut Walli Beckwith is aboard the International Space Station with fellow Russian astronauts when disaster strikes and they must abandon ship. Only Beckwith refuses to leave and is left alone on the ISS. She further risks her career and life to combat evil forces that are burning down the Amazon rainforest on Earth. This is the kind of book that brings out the nerd in me. It was a nice change of pace from the usual thrillers I read, yet it was still suspenseful. There are a couple stories and different viewpoints occurring, which makes it more thrilling. There was great character development and background which helped to build up the story. This is one book that would make a terrific movie! I would recommend that sci-fi readers put this on your tbr and even if you aren’t a sci-fi reader but looking for something different to read, this many just be the book for you!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    3.5. This book was a bit outside of the genres I usually stick to, and I'm glad for it. I would not have chosen this book on my own, and it was thanks to the people at Dutton & Plume / Penguin Random House for reaching out that it came to my attention. The story of Holdout touches human emotion, to the scientific aspects of aeronautics, to climate issues, to world politics. The author is clearly extremely well-versed in space exploration, as well as the political climate of Brazil / The Amazon R 3.5. This book was a bit outside of the genres I usually stick to, and I'm glad for it. I would not have chosen this book on my own, and it was thanks to the people at Dutton & Plume / Penguin Random House for reaching out that it came to my attention. The story of Holdout touches human emotion, to the scientific aspects of aeronautics, to climate issues, to world politics. The author is clearly extremely well-versed in space exploration, as well as the political climate of Brazil / The Amazon Rainforest, and I felt I learned a lot reading this book. The author did a good job of showing a variety of political viewpoints; while I thought it was clear where he stood on issues, he did a good job of showing both morality-driven people as well as fame-hungry people on a variety of political sides, which can be hard to do in the often binary approach to today's political climate. The book spends a lot of time with its main character, Walli, who I thought was an enjoyable and strong character to spend so much time with. There's a clear message the book is sending, and it's wrapped in a suspenseful plot line. Thanks to Netgalley, Dutton & Plume, Penguin Random House, and Jeffrey Kluger for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Williamson

    3.75 aaaah this one eh? So I honestly considered DNF'ing this one in the beginning. I felt like the technical tangents were lost on me. It was just a big blah blah blah in the background. I didn't really love how it started. But as the story began to unfold, I really fell in love with Walli and her story. While I'm far too cynical to believe that people in the real world would act as the people in the book did, I'm also hopeful enough to think they would. The thing about this book is that you see s 3.75 aaaah this one eh? So I honestly considered DNF'ing this one in the beginning. I felt like the technical tangents were lost on me. It was just a big blah blah blah in the background. I didn't really love how it started. But as the story began to unfold, I really fell in love with Walli and her story. While I'm far too cynical to believe that people in the real world would act as the people in the book did, I'm also hopeful enough to think they would. The thing about this book is that you see some really dark parts of society. From cultural, political, economical. It's just a whole list of dark things happening in this book. On a global scale. While I didn't end up loving the writing style, I did really enjoy the characters. I think the world could use a few more Walli's and Sonya's. I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. cover 3; characters 5; plot 4; pace 3; writing 3; enjoyment 4; cry *

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kris Sellgren

    This is a technical and political thriller with a ridiculous hypothesis — that a NASA-trained astronaut and Air Force veteran would seize control of the International Space Station to draw attention to criminal land clearing and genocide in the Amazon. No-one capable of that kind of mutiny would make it through the exhaustive screening process for astronauts. But once you accept that, the rest of the novel is tense and exciting. The stakes are high not only because the heroine has thrown away he This is a technical and political thriller with a ridiculous hypothesis — that a NASA-trained astronaut and Air Force veteran would seize control of the International Space Station to draw attention to criminal land clearing and genocide in the Amazon. No-one capable of that kind of mutiny would make it through the exhaustive screening process for astronauts. But once you accept that, the rest of the novel is tense and exciting. The stakes are high not only because the heroine has thrown away her career with her actions but because her beloved niece, working as a doctor in the Amazon, is almost killed by the illegal clearings. Lots of things go wrong, both on the ISS and on the ground, keeping the action going and the suspense high. I liked the part about the mouse Bolt, who has fun in zero-gravity flying from one side of the cage to the other.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Di Richardson

    This one was 3-3.5 for me. It may have been too soon since I read Project Hail Mary, which I loved. This book focuses on Walli Beckwith, a decorated female astronaut. When an accident aboard the International Space Station forces an evacuation, Beckworth refuses to go. Not because she thinks she can save the station, but because sees this as an opportunity to have an international audience to influence a Congressional vote to help save parts of the Rain Forrest. I just don’t think the time was r This one was 3-3.5 for me. It may have been too soon since I read Project Hail Mary, which I loved. This book focuses on Walli Beckwith, a decorated female astronaut. When an accident aboard the International Space Station forces an evacuation, Beckworth refuses to go. Not because she thinks she can save the station, but because sees this as an opportunity to have an international audience to influence a Congressional vote to help save parts of the Rain Forrest. I just don’t think the time was right for me to be reading a book about getting people all whipped up to March on the Capital and demand a certain vote. For the most part, I enjoyed the sections dealing with Walli surviving alone in space, and the sections dealing with her Aunt. I just wasn’t in the mood for the politics.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Conwell

    This was a mix of mystery, contemporary, and a touch of science fiction. There is a good amount of science in it, but not nearly as much as Project Hail Mary and not nearly enough to steer non-science lovers away from this. The one thing that shocked me the most was how political it was. A little too much for my liking, especially for having it advertised as a science fiction novel. Not a bad read, but not something I would pick up again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    P.J.

    Each time the International Space Station passes over the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, astronaut and Naval Officer Belka “Walli” Beckwith looks out the window and sees her conscience and her honor going up in flames. The fires, so large they are visible from space, are part of the Brazilian government’s plan to oust indigenous people from their homes by literally smoking them out. On the ground, Dr. “Sonia Peanut” cares for the sick alongside other doctors international aid organizations while t Each time the International Space Station passes over the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, astronaut and Naval Officer Belka “Walli” Beckwith looks out the window and sees her conscience and her honor going up in flames. The fires, so large they are visible from space, are part of the Brazilian government’s plan to oust indigenous people from their homes by literally smoking them out. On the ground, Dr. “Sonia Peanut” cares for the sick alongside other doctors international aid organizations while the forest burns down around them and the state-run media tells the world everything is just fine. Walli feels powerless watching from the space station, until an emergency forces the crew to evacuate and Walli decides to stay behind and take a stand. She won’t leave until the American people see what is happening, and the Congress moves to intervene in the Amazon. But staying behind isn’t easy. A series of crises unfold on the station that threaten Walli’s civil disobedience and her life, and officials on the ground make it clear that she won’t have a career to come home to, even if her scheme succeeds. All the while, Sonia Peanut’s patients continue to be forced into camps along the Brazilian border and she takes her own actions to build support from around the world for Walli’s cause. It all comes down to a vote from a hands-off Congress as the crises in space and the forest escalate in an intense ride to the end of the story. I was glued to my Kindle for the last third of the book. This compelling story reads like a really good feature article in a magazine or newspaper, with the additional characterization and interpretation that fiction allows. Author Jeffery Kluger expertly balances exposition, action, backstory, and character interiority. I found the facts and explanations interesting and most of the time they didn’t take me out of the story, but instead made me want to keep reading. It’s fiction that reads like good nonfiction, with plausible twists, turns, and outcomes. I also enjoyed Walli’s blend of military mindset and compassion. She makes very intentional choices and puts the greater good in front of her own needs. Her two crew members, Vasily and Lebedev, are also interesting character studies, supported by the rest of the cast in the space administrations and the White House. The crew of doctors in the Amazon also held my interest. I cared about each character and was astonished by their realities and the difficult choices they had to make. I’ll definitely be recommending this story to anyone who has an interest in space, including all my friends who grew up near Kennedy Space Center. Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing me with an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    3.5 ~ Enjoyed this. Good characters, exciting premise, timely.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    Oh look, another white author who can’t possibly describe POC accurately. Pass.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kara of BookishBytes

    I enjoyed this mashup of science fiction and eco-fiction in which an astronaut uses her fame and influence to affect national political decisions. The story moved along at a good pace and I enjoyed the main character.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ticey Geyer

    This book is a lot to process. I usually devour books and it took me several days to finish this one. While the author’s writing was detailed and realistic, sometimes it was too detailed. I found myself skimming several parts of the book even though I wanted more from the story. I enjoyed Walli’s interactions with her parents, Sonia, and Jasper, but I felt like there was still something missing. The story did its job though as it opened my eyes to the destruction of the Amazon. Anytime I read a This book is a lot to process. I usually devour books and it took me several days to finish this one. While the author’s writing was detailed and realistic, sometimes it was too detailed. I found myself skimming several parts of the book even though I wanted more from the story. I enjoyed Walli’s interactions with her parents, Sonia, and Jasper, but I felt like there was still something missing. The story did its job though as it opened my eyes to the destruction of the Amazon. Anytime I read a novel and then must search the internet to determine what’s true is a win in my book. I found that the combination of space, politics, and the destruction of the Amazon along with the bravery and determination of a strong female protagonist kept me intrigued even though I wasn't able to fully connect with the characters.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Thanks to NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review! This was hard to rate for me. I did like parts of it. It definitely passed the I Need To Finish It To Find Out What Happens test. I thought the main characters were well done and I loved the "peek" into space station routine and mission rules and how the crew interacts. My problem was with the thinly veiled political references. I mean, I think I'd have enjoyed it more if the author had made up his own situations and peop Thanks to NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review! This was hard to rate for me. I did like parts of it. It definitely passed the I Need To Finish It To Find Out What Happens test. I thought the main characters were well done and I loved the "peek" into space station routine and mission rules and how the crew interacts. My problem was with the thinly veiled political references. I mean, I think I'd have enjoyed it more if the author had made up his own situations and people. I mean . . . a president of Brazil who hates native tribes and wants to burn down the Amazon, AND his name is Jair and starts with a B?? A foul-mouthed American president who is a businessman and stocked the Cabinet up with other businessmen who knew nothing about the actual work of their departments?? A "maverick" ex-military senior Senator from Arizona? It just didn't seem right or real to me, more like cheating. Still, a fun read.

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