Don’t you hate it when you can’t remember the name of something? Of course you do. Everyone does.
I’ve been looking for the name of a book for a number of years now. Every now and again, I Google a few things about a plot in the vain hope that I’ll be able to find something that will point me in the right direction, but because I can’t remember anything specific such as names of characters or places, or anything that would lead me to a title or ISBN, I don’t ever find anything.
Still, I Google.
What’s even more frustrating is that even though I can describe the plot is great detail, everywhere I’ve asked hasn’t been able to name the book that I’m talking about.
I don’t really care about the book itself. Even if I did find the title I probably wouldn’t be able to buy a copy. The only physical copy that I did read was probably destroyed, or exists in a place I no longer have access to. But still, it grates that I can remember everything about the plot, but nothing about the actual book.
I’m looking for the name of a book that I read in my childhood/early teens in the early 2000s, but the copy that I read was second hand and relatively old, so it was probably published in the late 90s. It was a sci-fi/adventure book for kids/young adults (thin, probably only a hundred pages or so in the standard novel form-factor), with the cover depicting the mostly desert landscape of the planet the book was set on, with a “moon-buggy type” vehicle with large wheels (also mentioned in the book) jammed halfway in a small dust valley.
TL;DR: it’s the story of a human male training to become a pilot at a prestigious space academy on a desert planet that’s attacked by another non-human race gearing up for a major battle. The main protagonist and another cadet save the day with a little help from his mentor.
About 80% of the plot follows below (sorry, this is long), but for the life of me, I can’t remember any specific details that would make it more Google-able, just what the storyline was. Plot follows, (other details in brackets), “quotes for almost-quotes/terms/phrases from the book itself”.