Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, outstanding mystery, just plain fun
Cons: All cons have gone missing in space
The Bottom Line:
Vanished on the moon
Delightful mystery here
Great for all readers
How Can Someone Vanish in Space?
Sometimes when I hear the premise of a book, I’m hooked before I read word one. That was the case with Spaced Out. Of course, since it came from Stuart Gibbs, it was already on my must read immediately list, but the premise made it even more irresistible.
However, before we go on, I need to issue a MAJOR spoiler warning. You see, this is the second book in his Moon Base Alpha series, and before the first chapter is over, the first book in the series is spoiled. We get the solution to the mystery there as well as a major twist at the end. Granted, there’s no way to avoid spoiling part of the first book, but you will have much more fun if you read these books in order. And they are well worth reading in order.
This series is set on the moon in the not so distance future of 2041 on the first settlement on the moon. There are only 24 people living up there, scientists and their families, including twelve-year-old Dash Gibson and his younger sister Violet. Now, if you think that living on the moon would be exciting, Dash will quickly set you straight. These 24 people are all living in a base the size of a soccer field, and they can’t go outside without major planning.
But it also explains why it is so mysterious when Nina Stack, the station commander, suddenly goes missing. There is nowhere really for her to go or hide. She is not in the base, and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of her outside the base either. What happened to her? Is she in danger? If so, can Dash figure things out in time to save her life?
See what I mean? A vanished person on the moon – I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. And the book didn’t disappoint at all. The mystery was very good, and how the solution unfolded was completely logical. In fact, the clues and how Dash figures them out are better than in some of the adult mysteries I read.
But there’s so much else going on that it was always hard to put the book down. There’s a good sub-plot involving the Sjoberg family, an extremely rich family who is there for a six month vacation as the first space tourist family. Plus we get some great humor sprinkled throughout the book.
And I can’t leave out the death defying danger that Dash faces a few times in the book. Trust me, your heart will be racing right along with his.
The characters in this book are also strong. While there are a limited number, they are all distinct people, or as distinct as they can be based on their amount of page time. It’s quite easy to care for them and the outcome of the mystery. Well, most of them. There are a few we just love to hate.
The book is aimed at middle graders and is a fantastic blend of mystery and science fiction. The target audience will absolutely love it. But don’t let the fact that you might be beyond the target audience stop you. This truly is a fantastic book that anyone who loves a mystery will gobble up.
So don’t wait another second to book your trip to Moon Base Alpha. Spaced Out will keep you turning pages and leave you breathless for more.
This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.