Project Hail Mary [Book Review] #FathersDay

June 18, 2021

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail Mary by Any Weir (cover) Image: an astronaut is tethered and floating in space near a gold and black object

Genre/Categories: Science Fiction, Space Mission, Friendship, Survival

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary:

Middle School science teacher Ryland Grace finds himself on a desperate space mission to save planet Earth. He wakes up on a spaceship hooked up to tubes without a memory of how he got there or how the two people next to him died in their beds. Although he senses he knows them and realizes their importance, he can’t remember his own name or his purpose for being there. In dual timelines, we hear Ryland’s backstory (as he regains his memory) and experience the dangerous present reality. Ryland finds an unexpected ally in his quest to save Earth from extinction.

My Thoughts:

5 Things to Tell You About Project Hail Mary

(attempting to do this with minimal spoilers!)

  1. Lots of science, math, and engineering talk but that doesn’t hinder the main gist of the story or overpower the themes…lots to ponder and appreciate in Project Hail Mary even if you’re not a science/math/engineering person.
  2. Ray Porter is the superb audio narrator/actor…I HIGHLY recommend the AUDIO version for Project Hail Mary. In fact, I can’t imagine reading it in print. I felt like Ryland Grace himself was sitting in my living room relating a fantastic yet believable story.
  3. Ryland Grace is an extremely likable character, an everyday “awww shucks” kind of guy, a popular middle school teacher, a curious scientist, an admirable and selfless friend, and a relentless and innovative problem solver. Like many of us who go to work each day, he shows up and never quits.
  4. I love a book with thought-provoking themes and Project Hail Mary absolutely does not disappoint! Themes include sacrifice, friendship, hope, love, saving the world, curiosity, reluctant heroism, determination, grit, survival, unknowns of space travel, risk-taking, problem-solving, accepting the unchangeable, rolling with the punches, and appreciating cultural differences.
    My husband reflects: “Three concepts struck me and they all boil down to values: (1) loving others (caring and mourning for his friends who died, Ryland and his unexpected ally looking out for each other); (2) helping others (as a teacher….his first love, helping during the initial planning and preparation phase of the mission); and (3) giving back (Ryland ultimately commits to helping his country and accepts the responsibility and the cost). Ryland’s decision and actions at the end (no spoilers) are significant points of discussion and speculation.
  5. This is a memorable and satisfying read that will make a fabulous book club selection and/or buddy read. In fact, it might be a perfect Father’s Day gift! (this weekend in the U.S.). My husband and I listened to this book together and we both enjoyed the listening experience and our discussions immensely. In a book club discussion, I’d love to speculate about the future!

AUDIO Format Highly Recommended: Even though science fiction is not my usual genre, I’m thrilled that I took the chance to read (via audio) Project Hail Mary. Plus, if you are a “read the book before the movie” type person, you will want to read this before the movie starring Ryan Gosling comes out! Recommended for fans of The Martian, for readers who love science fiction, and for those who appreciate a compulsively page-turning and (eventually) heartwarming story. I predict it will be the buzz-worthy book of summer 2021. Compelling and unputdownable. Please consider the AUDIO version!

Content Considerations: appropriate for science/math-minded middle school and high school readers; minimal profanity; heavy emphasis on evolution.

My Rating:  4.5 Stars (rounded to 5 Stars)

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Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (cover) Image: white text, an astronaut is tethered in space near a gold and black object

 Project Hail Mary Information Here

Meet the Author, Andy Weir

Author Andy WeirANDY WEIR built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time.

He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail.

He lives in California.


Is Project Hail Mary  on your TBR or have you read it?

Happy U.S. Father’s Day!

Dad and me as a baby

my dad on a fjord in Norway

Dad and me at graduation with my masters

My dad and me as a baby; my dad on a fjord in Norway; my dad and me at my graduation (masters)

My father has been in Heaven for several years now, dying on Father’s Day in 2009.

Text: Dad...Remembering you is easy, I do it every day. Missing you is the heartache that never goes away. Image: a father and young child walk hand in hand (backs to the camera)

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.



  1. This one didn’t really appeal to me until reading your review. I am glad that you and your husband both enjoyed this one Carol. I did not read The Martian, but my husband and I both enjoyed the movie. I am going to see if I can get the audiobook. Wonderful review.

    • Thanks Carla! I didn’t read The Martian either but loved the movie. In this one, my eyes glazed over a bit with the science talk but the compelling story shines through. You don’t have to really understand the science to enjoy the story. It will make a great movie! I hope you enjoy it!

  2. Nice review! Have you read Weir’s other works?

    I reviewed this book recently, too, and gave it similarly high marks. Seeing the film version of it is going to be marvellous I’m sure!

  3. […] Because I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), I’ve already read a couple of books that I had on my brainstorming TBR list…..including Project Hail Mary. If you haven’t read it yet, put it (the audio version if at all possible!) on your TBR before the movie comes out! ***UPDATE: My review of Project Hail Mary here. […]

  4. […] The audio format of this story is excellent and, despite the harrowing circumstances, the unlikely friendship brought a smile to my face on several occasions. Who would have thought that a sci-fi story would have an incredible and heartfelt friendship theme? Certainly not me! I love that this story is also appropriate for high school students and would make a great family reading experience (a scattering of F-bombs from my recollection).  My review of Project Hail Mary here. […]

  5. […] I’m always trying to shove a book down a throat! I can turn any conversation into one about books and reading! To answer the question though, so much depends on the person. I love to give individual recomendations that would match her/his reading taste. Three books I’m known for urging people to read include The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. One audio book I’ve been pushing this year is Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. […]

  6. […] I rarely read science fiction. I remember loving Wrinkle in Time decades ago. FOMO (fear of missing out) caused me to pick up Project Hail Mary. FOMO doesn’t always work out the best for me, so my expectations were low. Early reviews encouraged me to use the audio format, and since my husband has an audio account I convinced him to acquire the book and suggested we might listen together. His skepticism matched mine, but he is a good sport. Surprisingly, we had the best time! We couldn’t wait to return to our book and put TV entertainment on hold (recording what we wanted to watch for later). I love finding a book I can buddy-read with my husband! We were both surprised by how much we enjoyed it, and we frequently recommend it to family and friends. Later, I found that The Martian (also by Weir) was available at the library, so I borrowed it. Of the two, I enjoyed Project Hail Mary more, and if you only read one book by Andy Weir, I recommend (the audio) of PHM. My husband and I definitely feel the audio format greatly enhanced the story! Here is a link to my review. […]

  7. I LOVED Project Hail Mary! It is my favorite book of 2022! I was a little apprehensive about it after hearing it was science-heavy, but I actually WON the book from a Goodreads Giveaway and so I read it. And I did it in print! Now I know it could be DOUBLY awesome on audio! I thought it was fantastic, I loved Ryland Grace, I loved the story, I loved Rocky, I loved everything about it. What a BOOK!! And, with the bonus that there is no swearing (Ryland is a middle school teacher, after all!) unlike in The Martian, which I had to stop listening to, too much F word.

    • Oh you must listen to audio! Especially for Rocky! 🎵 (plus the narrator is excellent and sounds like Tom Hanks!) I heard Weir say that he was very surprised that so many YA readers read Martian that he cut down the profanity in Hail Mary as a result. I love that I can feel good about recommending this to YA readers! I don’t usually read sci-fi but I loved this story! It’s on my lifetime favs list! I’m happy to hear we share the love! Thanks for commenting!

  8. Oh, I have to say that I was insanely curious about how they did Rocky’s speech! Yes, I must listen to it. Did you say they are making a movie of it? Can’t wait, as long as they do a good job!

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