Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Countdown Conspiracy

26102519Slivensky, Katie. The Countdown Conspiracy
August 1st 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Miranda has been chosen as one of six tweens to be trained for a world wide Mars mission. She deserves it-- she's super smart, has made her own robot, and has always wanted to participate in the space program-- but feels that perhaps she shouldn't have been chosen over her friend Sasha, who is Russian. Because there has been a global conflict, Miranda's position on the team comes under scrutiny, and before long she suffers through several attacks that imperil the mission. It doesn't help that Anna, from Austria, is rather nasty to her. The other members of the globally diverse team are Najma, Esteban, Rahim and Matsuo. Training to be an astronaut involves lots of physics, mechanics, and team building activities, and the group tries to work together despite the growing political unrest. When they are running a training mission, the group is sabotaged and lift off for Mars. The systems are all locked down, and a team of adults trying to save them has already perished. Can Miranda figure out a way to get everyone back to Earth, and figure out who is behind all of the unpleasantness?
Strengths: Lots of great details about space travel, and the political intrigue was interesting as well. Miranda and the girls are great at science, and we certainly need to encourage more young women to go into those fields. The plot moves along nicely-- very impressive science fiction book!
Weaknesses: I wish that Miranda hadn't doubted herself so much, or been so attached to her robot!
What I really think: This has a lot of heavy-duty science and space details, so it will be a popular book. I enjoyed the author's note about how she tried to write about space convincingly even though she's never been an astronaut!
Ms. Yingling

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