Author: Rebecca Thorne
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Release Date: March 23/21
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for an eARC of this book.
Max lives on the small space station of Azura. Since the death of his dad two year ago, it’s just him and his mom, and Max has trouble talking about his dad and not being angry at his friend, Arsenio, whose mom wasn’t able to save him. Max takes comfort in the one thing his dad left behind, an instrument called a decivox which is broken, but which Max is saving up to fix. He wishes his mom would realize that his passion for music is as strong as his interest in engineer that came from years of working with his dad. When a sudden visitor is stranded on Azura and becomes Max’s substitute teacher, Max and his classmates discover there is more out there beyond Azura then they imagined. Mr. Hames wants to make them part of his crew to explore it, particularly in search of the elusive star whales said to travel in space. As Max gets to know Mr. Hames, he realizes he is connected to his father’s past, and is the link to someone who knows more about his dad’s life. But when Max trusts the wrong person and brings danger to his doorstep, and to the star whales, he makes a decision that affects everyone involved.
What I loved most about this story was how unique it felt to me. Life on the space station was described well, and I felt I could picture how Max and his friends lived. Technology like flying ships, and animals like star whales, were similar enough to life on Earth to be relatable and yet original enough to be interesting. I enjoyed watching Max and his classmates become a team, and each bring their own skills to the crew. There was a lot of adventure, and the discovery of the stakes increased the drama. I also enjoyed watching Max start to come to terms with his father’s death, and repairing things that were broken along the way.
I recommend this story for those readers who enjoy books that take place in space, but the star whales and discussion about saving an endangered species that the space station is dependent upon to survive will also make this a great read for kids who like books about poaching and animal conservation. This is the author’s debut novel, but I look forward to reading more by her.
Recommended: Gr. 4-7