Two weeks spent at a luxury resort on the moon prove to be much more dangerous than a group of young people can imagine.
In the year 2085, eccentric inventor Elijah West invites 100 young people from around the world to spend two weeks at the Lunar Taj. Twelve-year-old Benny Love is one of the lucky scholarship winners. But while the experience promises to be out of this world, the $1 million given to each recipient will change the future for Benny’s nomadic family, which roams the Drylands that were once the United States’ West Coast. Once on the moon, the scholarship winners—from as far away as the Middle East, South America, and Japan—pilot Space Runners, reverse bungee jump, and compete for West’s attention and a place in his Pit Crew. But in all the fun, Benny discovers something that threatens not only the Taj, but the Earth. Holograms, artificial intelligence, and space-travel tech abound, but the familiar plot, cut-and-paste characters, and flat setting are stale. Even Benny, while likable, is a bit too good to be true, as Kraatz mines his background (poor and motherless, with a dad who insists on looking on the bright side) for his sterling qualities. Perhaps the promised sequel will be more out of this world.
A cosmic adventure that fails to attain escape velocity. (Science fiction. 8-12)