It ain’t easy to get to Mars.
It is the year 2026, and Tristan’s family has been chosen for the (real-life proposed) Mars One program, a one-way mission to establish a colony on Mars. In order to raise the necessary funds, good-looking white boy Tristan Hart has become an all-American teen heartthrob as the star of the reality show Tristan and Izzy, which chronicles his impending lifelong separation from his childhood sweetheart. Having made millions from the show, Tristan donates a portion of the funds to the Mars One mission and sets some money in trust for Izzy and his best friend, both of whom will be left behind. Lurking in the backdrop of the media charade, a terrorist group known as the Neo-Luddites has launched bombing attacks to thwart the Mars mission. Tensions are further exacerbated when it is discovered that a competitor may have already launched a secret mission to Mars. Tristan capably narrates, the believable teen blending his sorrow at leaving his friends with the kind of excitement readers will expect from a space adventure. Maberry mixes sci-fi details with romance and satire of modern media, his Mars One mission hosting a diverse set of characters that will have readers wishing they could join up.
Maberry wins with his on-the-spot dialogue, and his characters grace the page with ease. (Science fiction. 12-16)