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Jul 23, 2021AMB_4 rated this title 5 out of 5 stars
Mars is an inherently dangerous place, particularly if you're outside the protective, artificial magnetic field that shields the colony from the sun's deadly radiation. Enter Michael Prasad, who's 12 and feels like a huge disappointment to his dad because he's still not certified to go outside in a space suit, and he never will be. All because he suffers from panic attacks, seemingly randomly. They were first triggered in a space suit, and it means he'll never be allowed to get his safety certification. Except Michael knows he can do this; he gets in on an advanced certification test, suits up, goes outside the protective field and does excellent, no sign of panic, until he realizes his oxygen and time are running out. Still, he manages to figure out how to navigate the test and Mars using the stars above and doing the math in his head (!right?!), and almost makes it back to the dome. Almost. He won't wallow. Instead, he and best friend Lillith decide it's perfectly safe to take a rover and drive four hours across the Martian landscape to visit his dad, a researcher stationed with the colony's magnetic field. They have fun until... Something goes drastically wrong, of course. A massive solar flare, even bigger than predicted, hits. The magnetic field collapses. Which is a major emergency for the colony, no doubt, but for Michael, Lillith and Michael's dad... it could be deadly. With precious little air, water and food, Michael has to find his dad, figure out what went wrong with the magnetic field, and get everyone back home to the colony ... while facing his panic. I won't spoil how it ends; this is a powerful good read, one my son really liked. Enjoy!