A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel offers the chance to discuss the limits of friendship.
A promise is a promise. Kids from different backgrounds can work together to rescue each other.
Positive Role Models
With the exception of Mars, it's difficult to know the ethnic origins of the characters. The cover art suggests that they include a White girl, a Black girl, and an Asian boy. Caddie is psychic and empathetic. Toothpick loves being right. JP identifies as nonbinary. Mars and his mother are Indian. They are all extremely loyal to one another. The kids are brave and resourceful, ready to do almost anything to protect one another. Mars and crew indulge in performing disruptive pranks at school and breaking and entering in the neighborhood.
Violence & Scariness
A bullying boy calls Mars "Martian" and "flips a finger" at Mars and his friends.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting. A boy and girl discover they like each other at a dance.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sheela Chari's The Unexplainable Disappearance of Miles Patel is based on a popular podcast. Set in the Puget Sound area near Seattle, Washington, it features a diverse cast of middle schoolers in the who go in search of two missing friends from H.G. Wells Middle School. Eleven-year-old Mars and his crew indulge in performing disruptive pranks and breaking and entering. There's some name calling (a bullying boy calls Mars "Martian" and "flips a finger" at Mars and his friends). The only strong language is "pissed."
Is It Any Good?
If it weren't for those meddling kids there would be no adventure, and this clever mystery showcases a diverse team of young sleuths eager to be heroes. Adapted by Sheela Chari from a popular podcast, The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel expands the tried and true team-of-teen-detectives theme to follow steadfast Mars as he engages in a battle of wits with a mysterious billionaire on behalf of his missing friends. The plot is exciting, the dialogue snappy, and if the story doesn't always seem believable, it moves fast enough so that readers won't quibble. The adventure is clearly just beginning, and the tangle of loose ends ensures that Mars and the gang will be back sometime soon.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.