The seventh and final story in the Explorer Academy series take readers to the waters of Antarctica and the deserts of Argentina. It marks the end of their first year at the Academy for Cruz Coronado and his classmates.

I did say “final story” but it’s only the final one from Cruz’s perspective. The series will ramp up again in 2024 with a female character taking the lead perspective.

The Forbidden Island brings Cruz closer to the puzzle that will unlock a live-saving formula his mother developed. A discovery where she lost her life leaving Cruz and his father behind.

There are several character reveals in the vein of mistaken identities and loyalties. The gripping finale leaves Cruz making life or death decisions as he faces the main nemesis–the head of Nebula Corporation who wants the formula for personal gain.

Can one start with Book 7? Don’t even try. This series has to be read from Book 1 or you will be terribly confused. I featured the first book over four years ago. In The Nebula Secret you first meet the characters as they arrive at Explorer Academy headquarters in Wash. D.C. to begin their unique experience at the school.

From there it’s one adventure after another. The backgrounds and personalities of the characters become more apparent with each passing chapter. A little bit of science fiction is thrown in with some of the tools and devices the explorers use, but each are based on real life technology and something that could be possible in the future.

I normally present a “FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT” the book I’m reviewing, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand it to a…


  1. Each of the seven books are set on a different continent. A great way to learn about the geography of our world.
  2. The supporting website is the most complete support I’ve ever seen. A visit allows you to MEET THE CHARACTERS, discover 10 SIGNS YOU’RE AN EXPLORER ACADEMY STUDENT, and view an entire video library where you meet real explorers and delve deeper into the series. That’s just a sampling of what you’ll find at the Explorer Academy site.
  3. Science, Adventure, and Mystery are the three elements that combine to make a winning, page-turning plot.
  4. All the plot points are wrapped up fully by the last page of Book 7. Nothing is left dangling for the reader to speculate.
  5. The art work stands out not only in bold colors but supporting each story with vivid emotions.

Trudi Trueit imagined a career as a novelist ever since writing her first play in the fourth grade. A former TV news reporter and weather forecaster, Trudi has published more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for young readers.

Trudi’s middle grade fiction books include the top selling Explorer Academy series for National Geographic (2018 to present), My Top Secret Dares & Don’ts, The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series (Aladdin). Trudi’s numerous nonfiction titles cover such diverse topics as history, weather, wildlife, earth science, writing, education, and health. Recent releases include Detecting Avalanches & Detecting Volcanic Eruptions (FOCUS Readers); Giant Pandas, Grizzly Bears, and Polar Bears from the Wild Bears series (Amicus).

Born and raised in the Seattle area, Trudi has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. She currently lives in Everett, WA with her husband, Bill, a high school teacher. She loves photography, art, and serving the whims of her cats.
Trudi’s Links:
National Geographic
Simon & Schuster
Trudi is represented by Rosemary Stimola, http://www.stimolaliterarystudio.com


PLEASE COMMENT BELOW and be sure to visit the other MMGM bloggers with more Middle Grade reviews and features.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
This entry was posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. This sounds a really strong series, such a treat to have an entire series recommended to you! I really like the covers too! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I really need to check out this series for my great grandson. It sounds like such an engaging read with travel all over the continent and a mystery to solve. He’s in third grade and I want to find more MG books that he will enjoy in coming years. Glad for the overview of the series.

  3. carolbaldwin says:

    WOW. This sounds like a fantastic series. Thanks for sharing it. Might be a birthday present for one of my grandkids.

  4. This sounds like a fantastic series. I already learned something. I didn’t know there was a desert in Argetina.

  5. This sounds like a neat series! I like how they explore all the continents and that it’s based on real-world tech. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!

  6. I love a good series! I’m going to look into this, based on your review. Thanks, Greg!

  7. I’m sure the kids will gobble these up like candy. It’s not my cup of tea, but I sure know some folks who would like this. Thanks for the review.

  8. Linda Browne says:

    Thanks for the timely recommendation, Greg! I was just thinking to myself that it’s high time that I read a little more ‘younger’ MG, since I naturally default to upper MG. Not sure that this series will be totally up my alley as a reader but I’ve recommended it to several adventure-loving kids of my acquaintance. It’s great to have the attachment to an interactive website, too.

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