Monday, May 25, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Space Case

This is an absorbing read for kids who are fascinated by space and like mysteries. I was hooked on it and didn’t want to put it down. I discovered this book through the list of “new books” at my local library and put in a hold request. It was worth the wait!

Here’s the Amazon description:
Stuart Gibbs

Like his fellow lunarnauts—otherwise known as Moonies—living on Moon Base Alpha, twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is famous the world over for being one of the first humans to live on the moon.

And he’s bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped inside the tiny moon base with next to nothing to occupy their time—and the only other kid Dash’s age spends all his time hooked into virtual reality games.

Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Everyone agrees Dr. Holtz went onto the lunar surface without his helmet properly affixed, simple as that. But Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, Dash finds out, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies—a secret someone just might kill to keep...

Space Case (Moon Base Alpha) by Stuart Gibbs, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2014.

My Take:

Dash is a character that would be fun to hang out with because of his realistic observations about the moon base, his persistence in wanting to solve the mystery and, most of all, his likable personality. This book was intriguing and funny at the same time. I especially liked the excerpts from a fictitious manual called “The Official Residents’ Guide to Moon Base Alpha” at the beginning of each chapter.

As a writer, I want to read this book again. There’s a lot to learn from here about the execution of an intriguing concept. The voice of the main character draws you into the story world and the mystery. Details unfold at just the right time to keep you wanting to read more.   

Opening Line:

“Let’s get something straight, right off the bat: Everything the movies have ever taught you about space travel is garbage.”


“It’s not like in the movies, where everyone just jumps into their spaceships and flies off whenever they want. Launching a rocket is immensely complicated. It’s, well…rocket science.”

“Unfortunately, even after six months I was still mastering low gravity. I flew much farther than I’d expected, crashed into the wall, and tumbled back down to the floor.”

Other Info:

Stuart Gibbs lives in Los Angeles, where he also writes for TV and movies.  

Space Case is the first in a series, so we can expect more space adventures with Dash. Stuart Gibbs writes two other series, the FunJungle series and the Spy School series. Can't wait to read all of those! I read Belly Up a few years ago and really enjoyed that one too.

On his blog, Stuart Gibbs talks about why he writes more than one series: “…there’s too much fun stuff to write about.  I love writing, but the idea of only doing one series over and over and over again isn’t that appealing…I like the idea of jumping around between worlds.”

For more, visit Stuart Gibbs’ website.


  1. This sounds like a really fun book, especially since boys would like it. And I loved the first lines.

  2. I loved this one, too. So many great scenes and the ending sure did leave it open for another adventure in space.

  3. I really need to read this one! My 12-year-old son loved it, and he's not usually one to get captured by fiction. Its definitely got kid--appeal!

  4. This sounds great--and I am currently reading "The Martian" by Andy Weir (I know, adult fiction! Shocking!.) This might be a good mg companion for afterwards.

  5. This sounds great. I do love a mystery, but never would have picked up a space book. Thanks for the review.


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