Frozen Secrets

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 31 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

This is a nice Middle Grade story taking place in space. The aspect of friendship was one of the things I liked most. There were some things, in my opinion, that needed a bit of work, but I'm sure that this is a great debut for Myles Christensen. I can easily picture the kids in my classroom devouring this book.

Pros
Space: The idea of people being able to move into space has always been something that attracted me. It's something that's so far away from my life that it's always nice to fantasize about. 
Mystery: The mystery surrounding the story was great. I had no idea what was going on, and even though I felt like I already had met the bad guy, I had no idea who it was. I was curious about the outcome of the story and was glad that I got the answers I needed.
The story: This is a thrilling and adventurous story for younger ones and I'm sure Middle Grade kids will devour this story. I liked the fact that the characters in this book contained cool boys as well ad fierce girls, so it's not just a boy or a girl story. What I also liked about the story was the aspect of friendship. Max learns in this book what real friendship is and that was a nice layer to the story.

Cons
Explanation: I would've liked to get a bit more explanation on the world building in the first 20% of the book. The whole thing called "Europa" had me so confused for a while. Was it the continent Europe? A space ship? A planet? It was hard for me to picture it. A map or an illustration would've been nice. The book also tells you the planet is dangerous and I didn't feel that in the story. For a dangerous planet or space-thingy, it didn't feel secure at all. It was so easy for younger ones to slip out, multiple times...
Too much: A lot of exciting things happen in the story, but the some of the characters ALMOST die just too many times. I felt like it didn't add anything to the story and it didn't make it extra thrilling for me.
Dr...: Dr. this and Dr. that... There are too many Dr's in this story for me to keep them apart. They needed an extra layer or needed to be in the story more for them to make a lasting impression on me.

Overall
This is one of those books that can be liked by old and young and everything in between. I do feel that this story is more suited for Middle Grade children. I could see to many flaws in the book to TOTALLY go bonkers on it, but I did enjoy the story. I liked the main characters and I liked some of the side characters as well. The ending in this book was nice, but I'm not going to read the other books if this is going to be a series.
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I received an early release print copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: I don't read a lot of Middle Grade, and the age of the protagonist puts this book right on the brink between MG and YA, but the book's length/size and some of the content (some mild violence/peril, pretty sophisticated science fiction elements) makes it lean more toward YA. It's self-categorized as "Teen Science Fiction", but tagged as both MG and YA on NetGalley. So this is just a note that if there are specific features typical to Middle Grade, I'm not likely to pick up on them just because of unfamiliarity with the age category expectations.

What I liked: Sometimes a good clean read is a palate cleanser. This is the kind of book I would not have any qualms about recommending to friends with pre-teen kids or younger brothers. There's no adult language or other adult themes, just some peril and mild violence. If I were to give this book a movie rating, it would be a mild PG, maybe even G. I also enjoyed the descriptions of the orbital station, the shuttle, and the Europa colony base.

What I didn't like: I found Max and Jonathan to be somewhat annoying characters, but I realize that I'm not this book's target audience, and teen or pre-teen boys might be able to relate better to them. There were also a lot of coincidental plot events, but again, judging this as a Middle Grade makes me go a little gentle on it.

If I'm rating it from a Middle Grade perspective, then a solid 4 stars. If I'm grouping it with Young Adult, then 3 stars.
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Frozen Secrets is Myles Christensen’s debut novel, and it is a space adventure perfect for anybody looking for a little bit of an escape from reality. This science fiction novel is especially perfect for young adults and younger, as it is very approachable.
	Max Parker is one of those kids who is both brilliant and has a knack for getting into trouble. That makes him a handful, even on Earth. But now he and his best friend, alongside their families, are about to go on their biggest adventure yet.
	They’re going to one of Jupiter’s moons. Along the way, there are plenty of exciting things to behold, and a fair amount of mischief to find. Including, but not limited to, uncovering and solving a case of sabotage – or something much worse. 

	“His brain had barely registered the idea that he was about to die, when the safety line brought his free-fall to an abrupt end.”

	Frozen Secrets was a fun and fast-paced read. It easily ate the time as I devoured the pages, following Max and friends as they got themselves into trouble and saved the day. This science fiction novel had a sound plot, and used facts from real science to support what was an intriguing plot. It was the perfect combination. 
Looking back on it, I feel like this novel really is perfect for anybody curious about science fiction or just looking for a nice and light escape. As I mentioned above, it is highly approachable, both to a younger audience and to people less experienced in the genre. 
Max and his friends were exuberant, which sounds like it should be exhausting, but it was actually quite fun to read about their adventures here. It seemed like they were constantly running around or diving into this or that – which you can imagine resulted in a fair amount of chaos, given that they were in a space station. 
While the plot was interesting, I honestly think it was the balance of humor and pacing that really sold me on this novel. There was always something to laugh at, or at least to make me smile or chuckle. Okay, there might have been an indulgent eye-roll or two, but it was all in good fun. It made for a really amusing read, and given how many dark novels I’ve been reading lately, I really appreciated that.
Frozen Secrets was everything it advertised. It was light and fun, yet full of science and space travel. Max and his friends really are quite talented at getting into trouble, so let me tell you that description did not oversell there. I’m looking forward to seeing what other novels and plots Myles Christensen comes up with next.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed this book a lot! I especially love the characters in this book. I hope to read more by this author. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to review this title.
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I was excited to get a copy of this one and dive in, since it's been awhile since I've read a good middle grade scifi novel.

Thirteen-year-old Max is excited to get to leave Earth and live on one of Jupiter's moons. There, he meets some new friends, but thanks to his curious spirit, gets stuck on a shuttle on its way to be destroyed. He's convinced this isn't an accident but a plot to cover up a theft. Can he discover the truth?

This is one of those lovely scifis which leaves Earth behind and allows kids to hit the exploration of space with all of the fun space stations, other planets and space ships brings. The scene is refreshing and exciting. And with these very curious and ready heroes, it promised to be a lot of fun. There's imagination, excitement, secrets, mystery, danger and spunky personalities too. Even the writing itself sits and draws into the world. In other words, there are a lot of good things in this one. Still, it didn't grab me the way I'd hoped.

While the space aspect and mystery were fun...as well as the characters...there were more than a couple of slow spots. I caught myself laying this one done every few chapters. When I'd pick it up, there'd be an interesting scene and then I found myself drifting again. So, despite all of the good points, I can only give this one 2.5 to 3-stars, and hope that it grabs other readers more than me.

I received a complimentary copy through Netgalley and wanted to leave my honest thoughts.
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4-4.5 stars, but I'll bump it up because I want to support this author. This was a very enjoyable science fiction adventure/mystery that I think most middle school students would enjoy. The main character was likeable (as well as incorrigible and exasperating), but quite endearing, and there was just enough depths to him that made him a kid that was both interesting and one that learned as the novel went along. I liked the supporting cast of characters as well, and even learned to appreciate Christian as Max learned to do. My heart beat faster in several of their close calls (especially on Max and his sister's first visit to the old station) and I was absolutely cheering in the chase with Mei Li and Max on the sled. She was totally kick ass. The science behind the mysterious compound was kind of interesting as well as the idea of Catalan for all to have unlimited energy. I laughed as Max called Xenon Zeenan, but then again, I'm a chemistry teacher. I definitely recommend this for fans of Sci-Fi/Adventure books and those who enjoy or don't mind middle school characters. This is listed as Europa Academy #1, so I sure hope there will be more books in this series!

Thanks to #MylesChristensen for a very enjoyable book, and to #NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Although this gives every appearance of being a book that introduces middle grade children to the science fiction genre, make no mistake this is most definitely an introduction to the thriller genre as well.

Thoughts:
The premise of this series is that a new city is being built on Europa. The fathers of 13-year-old Max and his friend Jonathan had previously been part of a Europa base that had been destroyed in an explosion and they are now being asked to come back with their families and live there at the city. Of course, if you are going to have families then you’re definitely going to need a school, which is how Europa Academy comes into the picture. Families from all over Earth come to live on Europa, making it very multi-cultural and soon the kids are getting to know each and diving into all the adventures that Europa can provide and then some. There are also some crushes and flirting with others that occur too, albeit awkwardly since this is middle school.

I’m not exactly sure what took me so long, but I believe it was about the 3rd serious near-death experience that the kids in the story encountered when I finally realized this wasn’t just an adventure story, but in actuality a thriller within a science fiction story.

What makes this a thriller? Without giving anything away, let’s just say Max loves adventure and danger and wants to be a spy when he grows up. Prior to arriving on Europa there had been a disaster at the base. The disaster had killed 3 individuals. Shortly after leaving Earth Max spies someone acting a bit too secretive and one thing leads to another and somehow we find our main characters in multiple near-death moments where the kids have to think on their feet to survive. Literally survive. But these aren’t moments where an accident has occurred or where the kids are just being kids and find that they have put themselves into bad situations, these are premeditated sabotage events that only come from an outside villain.

This story has all the elements a typical thriller book would have (but in middle grade appropriateness) that includes a definite heightened sense of suspense, conspiracies, electronic surveillance and spying, red herrings, but most importantly the bad guys coming after Max again and again in more than an ‘adventure-style setting.’ If that isn’t enough to declare it a thriller, then there is even a car chase.

Fun Fact from the Book: A day in Europa is approximately 85 hours.

This one made me think – How long does a child go to school each day on Europa? How would that actually work? Typically on Earth a child goes to school approximately 1/4-1/3 of each day. But considering the length of a day on Europa, would that mean they are at school for 21 to 28 hours? Probably not, but it gave me something to think about. In this story, there is actually a city clock that everyone goes by so they don’t go by Europa’s day.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read with lots of thrills that will keep a middle grader on the edge of their seat.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and Moon Zoom Press for the advanced reader copy and the opportunity to provide an honest review.
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This is an action-packed space adventure that might just be the ticket for those who like their reads to be fast-paced with plenty of secret spy activity. 

Max Parker is the 13-year-old son of an astronaut; and although he loves everything space and adventure, he has never left Earth. That is until his family is chosen to live on Europa, a moon of the planet Jupiter. From the first, it's clear to Max that everything on Europa is not quite as it should be. Suspicious teachers, an abandoned base, threats to his safety and much more lead Max, always an adventurer and a magnet for trouble, to enlist his friends to help him investigate what's really going on. Fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat adventures soon follow. 

The character of Max reminds me of many other 13-year-old boys I've known, and I love the progress he makes in his own personal development throughout this book. The supporting characters are also well-drawn and add to the story in a meaningful way. We even get to see siblings that get along and look out for each other which, for a parent, is extremely refreshing. 

My only difficulties with this book are with the descriptions of the futuristic space travel and the colony on Europa. Maybe it's because I'm a bit older than the target audience for this story and my imagination isn't up to the task, but I would have liked to have things explained in a little more detail. Some of the setting and even some of the plot didn't quite make sense to me. I think some more description of the mechanics of the particular technology in this book would have been helpful. 

Bottom line: If you like middle grade adventure stories, space, books about friendships, or books about secret spies and covert missions; you should check out this book. Despite what it lacks in the way of plausibility at times, it's a solid, fun read.
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Earc from netgalley.

It was an okay book, there was plenty of action for those who like futuristic space novels.
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Max is the son of an astronaut, his father’s last mission was 13 year ago on Jupiter’s moon Europa, there was an explosion an three people died. Max and his best friend Jonathan, also an astronaut’s son, are caught using a jetpack they rebuilt and make friends with a space shuttle driver Jake.   Then it is decided that Max’s family will be one of families to settle in the new Europa City, but there is more to Europa City than meets the eye.
I enjoyed this book, it was a fun and action-packed adventure.  I think my son would enjoy it.  I can see that it is being set up for a series, and I liked the concept.  The writing was good.  I wouldn’t say it was my favorite book, but it was a solid story.  The characters were likable and relatable.  The action never seemed to stop, I like that there were no slow parts to the book, Christensen managed to move the story line along while keeping the kids moving, literally.
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Life on Earth is hard enough, but to find out you're moving to space? Max was excited and even more so to find out his best friend Jonathan and his family were coming, too! What could top off living on a space station? A mystery that needs solving!

The story flows smoothly from start to end. The build up to something that could be disastrous was nicely detailed with a neat finish in each segment. Slight cliff hangers were mixed in and always explained further down the chapter(s).

It brought back childhood memories of how easy it was to make friends at that age. The adventures the kids went on during this story were fun and intriguing.

Character development was clear and layered; personalities and flaws were interesting. The scenery the author painted was mesmerizing! 

I"d definitely read the next one if this turned into a series and would highly recommend this to any Middle Grader!

Well done!
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