Citizen of the Galaxy, Robert A Heinlein, Charles Scribners Sons, 1957, 302 pp
Citizen of the Galaxy is another one of Heinlien's Young Adult novels, though I found it in the Science Fiction section of my local library. Thorby is a young boy who knows neither his parents nor his age and has been a slave for as long as he can remember.
The story opens at a slave auction on the planet Jubbul, central to the Nine Worlds. Thorby is purchased by a beggar named Baslim, who raises the boy as his adopted son, frees him and turns out to be much more than a beggar.
Thorby's tale then proceeds through several phases while he searches for his origins. Ultimately this is a book about slavery, which though it is no longer practiced on Earth in this futuristic time period, goes on clandestinely across the galaxy. And guess what? One of the biggest business conglomerates on Earth knows full well what is going on and profits from the slave trade while denying that it even exists! Sound familiar?
I was completely immersed in the story and impressed by Heinlein's seemingly omniscient ability to know the future. Once again he created a breathlessly exciting read with deep social implications and his recurring theme that intelligence and hard work are the keys to life.
I would recommend this especially for male teens who are reluctant to read books but are required to read for school. In fact, I'd love to hear from one of these young men who tried Citizen of the Galaxy.
(Citizen of the Galaxy is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)