I have a confession to make: I judge books by their covers. And every time I’m in the library or bookstore and happen past one of Stuart Gibbs’s books’ covers, I think, “That looks like a book I’d really like.”
A few weeks ago, I finally took the next step – I plucked one of those books off the shelf and gave it a read. And it turns out my hunch was a good one.
In addition to being graced by yet another one of Lucy Ruth Cummins’s wonderful covers, SPACE CASE is an excellent read. Structurally, it’s a fairly traditional murder mystery, but with a fascinating and well-researched premise – the murder occurs on Moon Base Alpha, humankind’s first (semi)permanent non-terrestrial habitat. Our narrator, Dashiell, serves as our tour guide in this futuristic community of scientists, tech geniuses, and doctors, peppering his story with the sorts of insights into the harsher realities of life on the moon that only a twelve-year-old could offer. Within a couple of chapters, Dashiell also becomes this murder mystery’s lead investigator.
Anyone even moderately interested in space and curious about what it might really be like when we finally get beds and bathrooms installed up there on the moon will enjoy taking a dip into this fully realized world. And the mystery really is a great one – packed with characters (and suspects!) that are multi-dimensional, believably passionate and uniquely motivated. And the conclusion is satisfying, the final pages shining a light back on all those that came before it to reveal an intricate plot and a plethora of clues buried just beneath Dashiell’s casual, almost conversational narration. As if all that weren’t enough, the whole thing gets wrapped up with a final, tantalizing sentence, sure to have you running to the library or bookstore to look for a sequel.
Get this book for yourself, or for any kids in your life that like mysteries and/or have an interest in space.