Twelve-year-old Dash leaves his comfortable Hawaiian life behind so that his non-geeky, scientist parents can work on the space station, Moon Base Alpha. The humor and inconvenience of pooping in space soon becomes overshadowed by the death of Dr. Holtz, one of the base’s top scientists. With Dr. Holtz about to announce a breakthrough in his studies, Dash fails to believe that his death is an accident, as everyone else is led to believe. After a cryptic video message, Dash begins to investigate and risks his own life to uncover the truth in this suspenseful fourth to seventh grade read. Although I have seen this title recommended for third graders, the content, vocabulary, and plot are rather intense. Space Case is a juvenile version of The Martian, full of space and science terminology with the added bonus of a murder mystery. Frazier almost mimics the audio version of The Martian, reading at a more formal and suspenseful pace. He subtly changes his voice for characters and maintains one pitch unlike the nasally and annoying narration that I heard in Bryan Kennedy’s performance of The Sasquatch Escape. Space Case is a solid read for school-aged children desiring a more technically accurate story—from what I can tell, at least—about space and the universe.
Space Case (Moon Base Alpha #1) by Stuart Gibbs and read by Gibson Frazier (Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014)