This Europa Academy series is a welcome addition to the upper middle grade book shelf. The fiction choices for space adventure at this level are rather limited.
This first book reminded me a bit of the Explorer Academy series from National Geographic. The main difference is Frozen Secrets goes the science fiction route and takes place in the often dangerous locale of Europa, Jupiter’s moon. Scenes also occur back on earth in Houston, Texas where main character Max and his family reside when not in space.
Here’s the official blurb:
Thirteen-year-old Max Parker is a grounded Earthling with the soul of a space explorer. So when he learns his family is relocating to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, he readily agrees to stay out of trouble. But his promise is soon forgotten, and his snooping lands him on a shuttle doomed for a fiery disintegration.
Convinced someone sabotaged the craft to cover up the theft he witnessed, he digs into the incident. Why was this robbery worth attempted murder? Dodging a series of deadly accidents, he follows the clues to an abandoned outpost and discovers a secret that could blow the lid off a moon-wide conspiracy… Can Max solve the mystery before his interplanetary escapade gets him killed?
Frozen Secrets kicks off the thrilling, teen science fiction series, Europa Academy. It’s filled with fearless friends, high-orbit mysteries, and immersive worlds.
I love stories where you can’t tell the good guys from the bad. Here you’ll find a half dozen characters who could go either way. I changed my mind several times as to who was up to no good. Max of course is the one trying to figure all of this out. He’s a do now, ask later, impulsive type of kid. Thank goodness he has a cadre of friends who keep an eye out for him.
Despite Max’s sometimes questionable decision making, he’s an endearing character and perfect as the protagonist. He’s always questioning. The soft romantic side plot with crushes and jealousy is exactly the way it goes for this age.
Most of the plot though centers on the mystery at hand. There is a high amount of action, adventure, and danger at every turn. When Max is teamed up with Mei Li in a sled race, she provides a nice balance of toughness and the ability to speak her own mind.
Both the setting and story are memorable. I’d recommend this one to ages 10-15, especially those who have a fascination with worlds beyond earth.
The ending wrapped up all the dangling plot points which is much appreciated in reading a series. Ah, but another school term will soon begin, and Max will for sure find more trouble to contend with at The Europa Academy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Myles Christensen’s web site)
Myles writes exciting adventures in a variety of genres. His characters rarely avoid falling in love (or at least crushing on each other). For each new story, he makes a music playlist to match—and inspire—his writing.
Myles studied mechanical engineering in college. He works full-time as a design engineer and freelance product development consultant. He also teaches a CAD class at BYU twice a week.
Myles enjoys inventing new products. He has licensed three card games (Toss Your Cookies, Order’s Up!, and Skiwampus) to Gamewright.
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