Space Case by Stuart Gibbs Book Review

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: September 16, 2014

Twelve-year-old Dashiell (Dash for short) Gibson is famous all over the world because he is one of the first humans to live on the moon. It turns out though that NASA may not have been completely honest about Moon Base Alpha. The food sucks, there is nothing to do, the toilets are always breaking, you can't go outside, the only kid his age is addicted to virtual reality video games, and now there may be a murderer loose on MBA. During a late night bathroom run (where the toilet breaks again), Dash overhears Dr. Holtz, a renowned scientist, discussing a big discovery that he will reveal in the morning. The next morning though, Dr. Holtz is dead after walking out onto the surface of the moon without properly sealing his helmet. Some people think it is accident. Dash is sure that it is murder. However, uncovering the truth behind Dr. Holtz' death is not so easy. No one was in the airlock, there is no record of him talking to anyone, and he seemed to have a lot of enemies. As the suspects list grows, even Dash begins to wonder whether Dr. Holtz was just crazy or was he really murdered?

Beginning like Feed, but a lot less dark, Space Case if a sci-fi middle grade mystery which are three words that are never combined together. Funny, with engaging characters in an interesting setting, I was completely sucked in by the story even if the pacing was a bit off-kilter sometimes. As happens in some mysteries, the killer isn't exactly the obvious choice, but it wasn't so far fetched (at least not within the confines of the book) and so I let it pass. The one thing that I did have problems with were the modern day intrusions that will instantly date this book. Not only does the story take place only twenty-five years from now, but there are various intrusions into the narrative regarding "some old singer named Lady Gaga" and how everyone is mixed race now (in 25 years?). Although these are funny asides for readers in 2014, they aren't all going to make sense in a few years and a few years really does matter for this age group.

On the whole though, I think this is a really solid book for this age group. Kids will love the mystery, the science, and the twist at the end.