Monday, November 30, 2015

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: MINRS

The premise of this book caught my attention. I haven’t read many middle grade novels where kids have to survive underground without any adults. I was also intrigued to find out more about the science and technology of mining in space.

Description from Amazon:
A twelve-year-old boy and his friends must find a way to survive in the mining tunnels after their new space colony is attacked in this gritty action-adventure novel.

In space. Underground. And out of time.

Twelve-year-old Christopher Nichols lives on an asteroid. Earth has been mined to the edge of extinction. Dozen of families, including Christopher’s, have relocated to space to work as miners for terraforming companies.

Then a Blackout hits and the colonists lose communication with Earth. Which means they are on their own when they are ruthlessly attacked.

Now in a race against time, Christopher, along with a small group of survivors, are forced into the maze of mining tunnels. The kids run. They hide. But can they survive?

MINRS was written by Kevin Sylvester and published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division in 2015.

My Take:

This book is fast-paced with lots of action and plot twists. Christopher Nichols is an interesting character who takes on responsibility and learns to become a leader, while struggling to maintain his friendships. I really liked the way the characters all had different reactions to the trouble they were facing – it brought a lot of realism to the story. I also enjoyed the strong female characters who helped question Christopher’s leadership and change the direction of the story. 

As a writer, it was interesting to think about how the information about science and space was blended into the plot without it being too obvious. This was also a good example to study to see how to keep the plot moving along at a good pace.

Opening Line:

“The Earth blinked, and was gone.”


“I held the book against my chest, hugging it. I’d come so close to throwing it away.”

“But I held out hope that if we could just get through this, get through the horror, then we’d be friends again.”

“My dad liked to call me a genius, but I knew I wasn’t, not really.”

Other Info:

Kevin Sylvester is the author of the popular
Neil Flambé series, which also includes some of his drawings, as well as several non-fiction books. He lives in Toronto.

While MINRS doesn’t contain illustrations, the author did make some drawings to help with the writing process, which you can look at on his blog, including a sketch of the disrupter.  


  1. Sounds like a great adventure story. And there are not many middle grade science fiction stories. Thanks for sharing this one.

  2. I loved the quotes you showed as it gave me a window to this great sounding adventure story. Interesting title and one I will certainly be reading soon.

  3. Thanks for spotlighting this! Isn't it interesting to see the various ways authors create a situation where kids have to survive without adults?

  4. I love the opening hook. That certainly draws the reader into the story right away. Sounds like a complex read about survival. Boys will like this book. Great review.


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