The Interplanetary Expedition of Mars Patel

Walker/Candlewick/. Oct. 2021. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536209570.
Gr 3-7–Mars Patel is going to his namesake planet, where he’ll finally find his missing friend Aurora and meet his hero-turned-adversary, Oliver Pruitt. Picking up where the first book left off, this follow-up to The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel brings Mars to Mars, where he encounters a new crew of exceptional kids who have been selected by Oliver to help him build a colony in space, away from adults and the problems that have brought Earth to the brink of collapse. There’s South London’s Julia, who speaks multiple languages (including three coding languages) and uses a wheelchair; Orion Acevedo, an adept space pilot and former foster kid; and Daisy Zheng, the 10-year-old Chief of Communication at the Mars Colony. But colony life is not as idyllic as Oliver and Daisy would have Mars Patel believe, and soon he is caught up in yet another life-and-death adventure, this time on the Red Planet. There is more emphasis on plot in this sequel, with many of the new characters feeling thin in comparison to the original friend group of the first novel. Still, the do-or-die space action is thrilling, and the themes of teamwork and perseverance remain strong. Mars is Indian American, while the rest of the cast varies in terms of ethnicity.
VERDICT A must-read for fans of the first book. Hand this series to readers who crave sci-fi adventure and mystery.

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