By Housuke Nojiri, Haikasoru, $13.99, 210 pages

10If this is like most science-fiction in Japan, then keep it coming. Rocket Girls is based on the anime of the same name, following the adventures of Yukare, Matsuri, and Akane, three girls who are the astronauts of the only company able to compete with NASA, and only because the Solomon Space Association is so good at cutting costs. The story centers on the new girl, Akane, and her tribulations on joining the SSA, who are so good at cutting costs because their rocket only fits petite Japanese girls, as Akane is in the process of finding out.

The book is one of the better translations of an actual show, and it’s a fun read. All of the characters are well-differentiated, and you root for them because you honestly care for them. Although the supporting cast is what we’ve gotten used to in anime (the amoral mad scientist, the cute engineer, and the debatably-there superior, among others), this is a fun ride with some real girls, not the one-dimensional characters usually seen in shoujo. For those looking for light reading or a book with teenage role-models, this is a great book.

Reviewed by Jamais Jochim