Following their successful rocket launch in Astrotwins—Project Blastoff (2015), Scott and Mark Kelly are back for another unlikely outer-space adventure.
It’s spring of 1976, and the 12-year-old twins are feeling restless after the excitement of the previous summer, so when a malfunction on the Soviet Salyut space station threatens the life of a cosmonaut, they decide to get their Crazy 8 team back together for a rescue. As in the previous book, author and former astronaut Kelly and co-author Freeman mix likable pre-adolescent high jinks, real science (and here, Cold War history), and a whole lot of suspended disbelief into a page-turning collaborative adventure. It’s a rockier start than in the earlier book, as the kids need to conscript adults into their scheme; somehow, it’s a lot easier to believe that a bunch of preteens could assemble a rocket on their own than to imagine that Sen. John Glenn would help that bunch of preteens do an end run around NASA to launch the Titan II rocket now conveniently stored near the Kelly twins’ grandpa’s house in New Jersey or that pal Barry Leibovitz could make a solo trip to the USSR’s Star City to translate. But once past these hurdles, readers will find themselves as invested in the kids’ success as the team itself is. As before, infodumps on rocketry and politics fold themselves remarkably seamlessly into the narrative.
From blastoff to landing, another nifty ride. (author’s note, glossary, sources) (Historical fiction. 8-12)