|Book||J DALEY, MICHAEL||Children's J Fiction|
Thirteen-year-old Stewart Hale dreams of Space Academy and becoming a famous pilot like his mother, and like his hero Val Thorsten. But after his mother's death, his father has forbidden any talk of Stewart going into space. And Stewart suspects there's something that is being kept hidden from him, something they don't want him to remember from his past. A chance encounter with a washed-up old spacer gives Stewart an unexpected opportunity to sneak off on his own mission to the Moon. But when the old spacer's intentions turn out to be less than honorable, Stewart realizes he hasn't found his big break#151;he's been shanghaied!
In the spirit of sf authors Heinlein and Norton, Daley has created a fast-paced, science-based adventure with a compelling narrator, 13-year-old Stewart Hale. Stewart wants to be a space pilot like his mom, who died in a crash. His father opposes the idea, but eventually Stewart runs away as a cabin boy on a moon-bound ship. Subplots include a conspiracy to keep Stewart from finding out what really happened to his mother and to his hero, rocket pilot Val Thorsten, who disappeared while testing a new rocket. Daley peppers the text with plenty of actual science and history about the U.S. space program. There's no romance or edginess and characterization is secondary, but this throwback to a time of gentle adventure stories will attract kids fascinated by space exploration. --Debbie Carton Copyright 2007 Booklist
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-The year is 2165 and all Stewart wants for his 13th birthday is his dad's signature on his Space Academy application. When his father won't comply, and his holograph of a counselor tries to force Stewart to watch his mother's tragic death repeatedly, the boy throws a dangerous tantrum and runs off. He follows a mysterious but intriguing stranger onto a ratty old spaceship heading on a secret mission to the moon. During the journey, he learns who this person really is, what his mom has to do with this mission, and what secrets his dad and brother have been keeping from him for most of his life, all while trying desperately to help keep the rickety spaceship from crashing. This adventure is fast paced and exciting, full of small mysteries and somewhat shocking surprises, and Stewart's narration is quite believable. Daley's writing style is simple, with short sentences and minimal description, making this a great read for reluctant readers, but perhaps a little light for seasoned science-fiction fans. While not an exceptional novel, it is still a fun adventure.-Sharon Senser, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.