Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers comes from a family of stargazers and his quest to find life on other planets is unstoppable.
But when Arty's family announces they're moving to Las Vegas, the City of Lights threatens to put an end to his stargazing dreams forever-especially when he has to stay with his scary next door neighbor while his parents look for a house. As it turns out, “Mr. Death” isn't terrifying at all-he's actually Cash Maddox, a bonafide astronaut! But when Cash falls ill, will Arty find the courage to complete his mission by himself? And might he actually prove, once and for all, that there is life on Mars?
For fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce's Cosmic and Jack Gantos's Dead End in Norvelt comes a heartwarming story of true friendship-earthly or otherwise.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||8 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Jennifer Brown is the author of Life on Mars, the highly-acclaimed YA novel Hate List, as well as Bitter End, Perfect Escape, and Thousand Words. She lives with her family in Kansas City, Missouri.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Artey Betelgeuse is obsessed with space. His family always has been. His father is an astronomer and everyone in his family is named after stars. Artey is even determined to contact Mars through light by signaling them nightly for the past two years. But his life gets turned upside down when his father loses his job and the family must move to Las Vegas. This is like death to an astronomer. The bright lights would ruin any view of the stars. Another wrench gets thrown into the works when he is thrust on a crabby old neighbor next door whom Artey is convinced is a zombie or alien. But when Artey finds old his neighbor's secret, Artey finds a friend, mentor, and lifeline. This book was touching in a surprising way. When I think of a science obsessed kid's book, I don't often think of a book with such heart. While I am not entirely convinced the author was able to inhabit the voice of Artey - especially when reading the 'Fun Facts About Mars' - I enjoyed the book. I think it is the perfect addition to a school library. Boys and girls would love the characters in this book. I can see a lot of applications when using the book in the classroom - Astronomy, Mars, space, Morse Code, Samuel Morse himself, etc. with the obvious application being to build your own HUEY (Artey's transmitter to Mars) and/or testing it out. I would love to see what students come up with!
Brown delivers a fun, informative book that is also heartwarming and poignant. It is especially appealing to boys, with its bodily function humor and its disdain for shallow teenage “girliness”. Brown maintains a perfect dichotomy between boyhood humor of zombies eating faces off and dealing with the loss of friends. Young teens are treated to a book that is chockfull of information on outer space, Mars, and stars, but all the while keeping it light and fun. Making learning fun is what makes this book excellent. Doing that, while teaching us something deeper about our humanity and our resolve, makes this book exceptional.
I'm an adult who follows the author's YA books, so when I heard about this, I knew I had to read it! It's no surprise that Jennifer brings her same talents to middle-grade. This had me laughing on one page and crying on the next. I have a nephew who's the perfect age for this book (bonus, he loves space) and I'll definitely be sharing this with him. Loved it!