Okay. I have to admit it. I probably could recite the plot of every episode of Star Trek: Next Generation. It was prime time television watching in my household growing up, and I will admit to harboring a crush on Wesley and also wishing to have telepathic powers like Diana. This heightened knowledge of the Star Trek universe came in handy as I read, Warp Speed by Lisa Yee.
Although the narrator Marley was a "purist" and identified more with The Original Series, I was still able to enjoy his star trek metaphors. I really liked his hangout place, "The Transporter Room," his label for a pack of bullies at school, "The Gorn," and his penchant for carrying around Star Trek action figures for use in daily life. (See links for original Star Trek counterparts.)
They are almost like his talismans, helping him in everyday life. I myself, could use a Dr. McCoy every once in awhile. But it seems that Marley needs it even more, as he goes up against a plethora of school bullies, a crush on the girl in his home ec class, and a boy who threatens his father's business. But Marley stands tall. He provides a voice in this book, for so many kids at school who rarely have a voice.... the invisible. If the point of books is to bring to light the truth, I would say that Lisa Yee succeeded with this book. She brought a voice to the lower stratosphere of the social realm in school. And they deserve a voice too.
Marley lays it out for the reader, explaining the school's social make-up in a planetary chart. From Mercury (the popular planet) to Pluto (the habitation of the AV Club), Marley's chart made me wonder where I was in middle school. On Mars with the artsy types? But I was klutzy to a tee, so probably Neptune instead? Either way, I think Yee captured the dynamic of middle school. Marley is a character who warrants a second look, even if he doesn't get it at school.