A mysterious plane crash lands a pack of kids in an impossible place in Scholastic’s newest multiplatform series kickoff.
Team Killbot is on its way to the Robot Soccer World Championship in Japan when the plane goes down. The New York–based robotics club is made up of leader Molly, who is African-American, Javi (short for Javier), who’s a black Latino, Anna, who is hyper-rational but emotionally tone deaf and white, and Oliver, the youngest and also white. Post-crash, most passengers have vanished, with the exception of the robotics club, Japanese sisters Kira (rebellious) and Akiko (proper), an older white teen named Caleb, and half-Japanese, half-American manga fan Yoshi. Despite the plane’s Arctic trajectory, they find themselves in a jungle. The flora and fauna are like nothing they’ve ever heard of (and are quite dangerous), but the real kicker is when they discover a device that can alter gravity. This is the first installment of a new multiauthor series to be tied in with an online game. As such, it focuses on introducing the characters and watching them explore their setting as they reason through different strategies, both for survival and to figure out where they even are. The setting is effectively developed, with a threat level that’s high enough for effective suspense but not too gruesome, and the characters provide many points of entry for a broad spectrum of readers.
A solid popcorn adventure. (Science fiction. 9-14)