320p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jan. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062802668.
Gr 3–7—In the year 2352, Earth has fallen from nuclear disaster and the United Moon Colonies are what's left of humanity. Ultraball, a sport similar to football involving child-players in high-tech space suits, is the main source of entertainment on the moon. Strike, the quarterback for the Taiko Miners, has a lot at stake. He must win the Ultrabowl for his colony or risk the colony's possible extinction. When a mysterious Dark Sider, a non-colonist who lives on the dark side of the moon, tries out for the team and offers to help them win the Ultrabowl, Strike must decide whether his new teammate can be trusted. Part science fiction, part sports story, Chen's novel portrays a dystopian world where not all colonies are equal and some are run in a police state. The backstory about what happened on Earth and the history of the political climate of the Moon are left unanswered. Fart jokes and cheesy banter makes this well suited for a middle school audience. The ending sets up the premise for the next book in the series.
VERDICT Consider for sports fans who like their action with a sci-fi twist.

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