Parents' Guide to

Mars Evacuees

By Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Fun, fresh sci-fi adventure has touching message of empathy.

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Kids say (2):

MARS EVACUEES is a successful launch for a sci-fi series by Sophia McDougall (the Romanitas trilogy). Liftoff drags a bit, but by the time the young heroes start bounding around Mars, readers will feel as if they're traveling with longtime friends. The kids bicker, naturally, but they have great respect for each other's talents -- and they all share the ability to make do with limited options and find ways to survive. Alice's narrative voice is the book's greatest strength: bright, lively, wry, and entirely believable as a 12-year-old girl navigating incredible circumstances. A comfortable mix of appealing humor, terrifying danger, and touching moments carries the story along.

The introduction of an alien way of speaking and thinking is ambitious but awkward and may be a stumbling point for some kids. The children's relationship with the alien Thsaaa unfolds tentatively and slowly, showing the patience and work that's sometimes needed to overcome bitter divisions and find common ground.

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