Trajectory by Cambria Gordon @cambrialgordon @Scholastic @sophiarose1816

Posted April 14, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review / 14 Comments

Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Trajectory by Cambria Gordon @cambrialgordon @Scholastic @sophiarose1816 Trajectory by Cambria Gordon
on January 1, 2023
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publicity team
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Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is nothing like her hero Eleanor Roosevelt. She is timid and all together uncertain that she has much to offer the world. And as World War II rages overseas, Eleanor is consumed with worry for her Jewish relatives in Europe. When a chance encounter proves her to be a one-in-a-generation math whiz--a fact she has worked hard all her life to hide--Eleanor gets recruited by the US Army and entrusted with the ultimate to fine-tune a top-secret weapon that will help America defeat its enemies in World War II and secure the world’s freedom. This could be her chance to help save her family in Poland.

Soon, she’s swept from the basement of an Ivy League engineering school, to the desert of California, to an Army Air Corps base at Pearl Harbor, and finally she takes to the skies above the South Pacific.

But before she can solve this complicated problem, she must learn to unlock a bigger herself.

Coming of age during WWII and doing her bit to serve her country far from home, a young woman learns to shake off the shackles she has long worn of grief and guilt over her dad’s stroke and show just how brilliant her mathematical brain can be.  I don’t read much Young Adult these days, but when I saw this was set during WWII and featured a woman mathematician who helped with the bombing missions, I had to grab it up.

Eleanor Schiff has lived much of her life feeling guilty that her intelligent mathematics professor father had a stroke and punishing herself by hiding her own keen mathematical mind.  But, a discovery by a project recruit for women ‘human calculators’ helps her work through her guilt and see what she can do as vital to the war effort even as certain narrow-minded males put her and the others down and her own lack of self-confidence and shyness must be overcome.  They need help calculating trajectory for the bombing runs.  Eleanor practices on the American desert and eventually ends up in the Pacific with everything on the line to get her calculations right.

Trajectory is a Young Adult novel with a focus on girls in STEM and a historical backdrop.  All are well-layered foundational pieces to the book, but I think the young adult element stuck out the most in many places.  Eleanor definitely gets stuck in her own head and things don’t move forward at a good pace as a result.  The author wrote the teenager well and the WWII female calculator element was fascinating.  Parts of the story seem wildly improbable, but made the story more interesting so I went with it.

I have to admit I’m not a math lover, so yes, I skimmed those bits.  I can say that the author made Eleanor’s ability seem more authentic with the mathematics included so I’m glad the author didn’t gloss over it.  I enjoyed realizing  this is based on the true life stories of women who did the math computations and helped the bombers land the bombs with more accuracy which was a part of history I didn’t know about until now.  I can easily recommend Trajectory for those who enjoy YA Historical Fiction particularly showcasing women’s history.


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Posted April 14, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review / 14 Comments

14 responses to “Trajectory by Cambria Gordon

  1. This sounds like a very interesting set up for a book with the main character coming of age during world war 2. I can understand you skimming the math bits and too bad with the pacing being a bit slow at times. It sounds like a solid read and how neat it’s based on a true life stories.

    • Yes, while this characters is fictitious, the overall story was real so that had me fascinated. LOL, I just couldn’t track with the math formulas so didn’t even try. It was a good read.

    • Yeah, that is what mostly puts me off it, too, but this was a different sort with the historical storyline. Though, yes, she is a teen and comes with some drama. 🙂

    • Yes, I went into it thinking it would be interesting for a teenager to be involved in WWII war effort and it was, but I was blown away by her math mind. Of course, I’m lousy at it so she could have impressed me with far less. Haha!

    • Exactly, so, Nicole! I was very taken with the story while she was doing her calculations and impressing those testing her and those who thought she couldn’t do it.

  2. WWII stories are simple so riveting and I love the mix of STEM in it and having it feel genuine in that way I can see was a huge plus for you!!

    Great review ….as always darling!

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