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In the Red
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In the Red
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A harrowing, pulse-pounding race for survival that New York Times bestselling author D. J. MacHale says "will leave you breathless."Michael Prasad knows he shouldn't go out on the Mars surface alone....
A harrowing, pulse-pounding race for survival that New York Times bestselling author D. J. MacHale says "will leave you breathless."Michael Prasad knows he shouldn't go out on the Mars surface alone....
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  • A harrowing, pulse-pounding race for survival that New York Times bestselling author D. J. MacHale says "will leave you breathless."

    Michael Prasad knows he shouldn't go out on the Mars surface alone. It's dangerous. His parents have forbidden it. And the anxiety he feels almost every time he puts on a spacesuit makes it nearly impossible for him to leave the safety of the colony.

    But when his best friend, Lilith, suggests they sneak out one night, he can't resist the chance to prove everyone—including himself—wrong.

    As the two ride along the Mars surface in a stolen rover, miles from the colony, a massive solar flare hits the planet, knocking out power, communication, and navigation systems, and the magnetic field that protects the planet from the sun's deadly radiation.

    Stranded hours from home with an already limited supply of food, water, and air, Michael and Lilith must risk everything if they're to get back to the colony alive.

About the Author-

  • Christopher Swiedler is an author and software engineer who lives with his wife and three children in California, where they're under constant threat from earthquakes, tsunamis, and the occasional Martian dust storm. His goal in life is to win the Newbery Honor (not the medal itself) because he believes being a runner-up builds good character. This is his debut novel. You can visit him at https://christopherswiedler.com.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2019
    Hypothesis: If a 12-year-old with panic disorder gets stranded outside the colony during a planetwide emergency, he'll need all his smarts and grit to survive. Michael Prasad lives an ordinary life inside a biodome on a future terraformed Mars. Despite his math and science abilities, Michael has failed his suit certification test due to a panic attack and hasn't been allowed out on the surface since. When his best friend, Lilith, shows him a secret airlock, Michael takes the chance to prove himself. Together, they steal a rover and drive out to surprise Michael's dad at the magnetic field station. But when a solar storm wrecks the artificial magnetic field that shields the planet, they lose all satellite navigation and radio and eventually crash their rover. The friends must escape the deadly solar radiation on foot, navigating harsh terrain, mechanical disasters, and a worsening storm with dwindling supplies. Swiedler's debut is a clever and exciting read that casts a key female character as an intrepid explorer and a supportive friend. Disappointingly, however, when it comes to space science, Lilith is an ignorant foil to the lone boy genius, who's emotionally oblivious and thinks girls deliberately act confusing. Michael is biracial, with a South Asian father and white mother; other characters are implied white. Engaging but androcentric. (author's note) (Science fiction. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2020

    Gr 6 Up-Panic attacks have kept Michael Prasad from getting his space suit certification and keep him locked inside the safety of the Mars colony. But after he nearly passes the advanced qualifying test, his best friend Lilith arranges for them to sneak out onto the surface. One stolen rover and a long jaunt later, a solar flare knocks out all communication and navigation, leaving them stranded with little food or water and a quickly depleting oxygen tank. All they have now are their wits and Michael's knowledge of navigation and locations of possible sources of supplies from outlying facilities. Working together is the only way they might make it back to the colony alive. Michael and Lilith are well-written characters with whom students will quickly identify. While their decision to "borrow" a rover isn't well thought out, their teamwork and ingenuity in the face of danger are admirable. This is a wonderful adventure novel filled with so many twists and turns that it seems the characters very well may not survive. The story manages to invoke a real sense of danger, and at times hopelessness, as the teens fight to survive a hostile environment without help or resources. The writing is reminiscent of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet and Andy Weir's The Martian-it maintains a skillful blend of science and survivalism to keep readers engaged and invested in the outcome. VERDICT A smart choice to read individually or as a group to further explore the possibilities of life on Mars and the science behind the fiction.-Elizabeth Speer, Weatherford College, TX

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    January 1, 2020
    Grades 5-7 Michael only knows life inside the Colony, but he has a plan to finally gain the certification that will allow him to venture out upon Mars' surface. Unfortunately, his parents think it's too dangerous for him to even try, and his anxiety disorder keeps him from finishing the test. To cheer him up, Michael's best friend, Lilith, sneaks him out, and they daringly decide to travel across the surface, only to become trapped when a solar flare knocks out their communications. The stakes are high for the stranded pair among the beauty, wonder, and danger of a harsh Martian environment. By telling the story from Michael's perspective, Swiedler offers a fresh take on heroism through an honest portrayal of the emotional struggle of overcoming anxiety. The friendship between Michael and Lilith feels real and grounded as they confront family issues, mental health, and their own relationship, and readers will be left breathless by stunning descriptions and harrowing feats of survival as two tweens face death, danger, and emotional upheaval.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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