Space Case (Moon Base Alpha #1) by Stuart Gibbs

My ten year-old brought this home from his school library and recommended I read it, too! Fortunately, he warned me that he hadn’t actually finished it when I handed it back to him, else I would have likely dropped some major spoilers, but I could tell him that it was a fun read with at least one surprising twist.

Space Case takes place in a semi-distant future where Lady Gaga is considered an oldies singer and America has built a permanent colony on the moon, with Earth’s nations agreeing to treat any of their colonies the way they do their Antarctic ones (a very reasonable solution, IMO.) Dashiell Gibson is one of the lucky first colonists on Moon Base Alpha, or MBA, as it’s known. Well, “lucky”. He not-so-secretly hates living in such cramped quarters and very much misses his old Hawaii home. But since communiques off-base are strictly censored by NASA in order to keep up appearances, he has to help maintain the whole “perfect kid in a perfect situation” facade. MBA is partially funded by tourist dollars after all, and the last thing NASA needs is for people to see through the cheery advertising and stop sending exorbitant amounts of money their way.

Ofc, all their efforts are for naught when MBA’s most prominent scientist, Dr Holtz, takes a long walk out of a short airlock. The official story as promoted by the Moon Base Commander is that Dr Holtz’s death was accidental. Trouble is, Dash is pretty sure Dr Holtz was murdered. Just hours before the unplanned moonwalk, Dash had overheard Dr Holtz engaging in an excited conversation about an important announcement he was planning on making in several hours. But before that time could arrive, he was dead.

With the help of several new acquaintances and allies, Dash sets about investigating, uncovering (and solving) along the way more than one mystery plaguing MBA. But the most explosive discovery won’t necessarily be what Dash, or anyone else, anticipated.

I really had fun with this sci-fi/mystery novel, and am glad my kid both picked it up and recommended it to me. It presents a reasonable extrapolation of current events into a practical lunar future, from the wry point of view of a young teenager who can see through adult machinations but doesn’t yet have much power to do anything about them. The cheery MBA guidelines that intersperse the chapters hilariously underscore the sometimes perilous action, making for a quick, entertaining read that I’m really enjoying discussing with my eldest child.

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs was published September 16 2014 by Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers and is available from all good booksellers, including

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