One Giant Leap
by Ben Gartner
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Pub Date 21 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 16 Feb 2023
Crescent Vista Press, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
“I'm pretty sure I'm about to die in space. And I just turned twelve and a half.”
Blast off with the four winners of the StellarKid Project on a trip to the International Space Station and then to the Gateway outpost orbiting the Moon! It's a dream come true until space junk collides with the ISS, turning their epic trip into a nightmare of survival. Alone aboard the Aether starship, the kids have to work as a team to save the adults before the ISS is destroyed. Suit up, cadet, and launch into adventure with One Giant Leap!
A Note From the Publisher
Illustrated by Anne Glenn
“Gartner’s trademark cinematic writing makes you feel like you’re right there in the middle of the action. Mixed with humor and heart, kids will love this adventure!”
—Sam Subity, author of The Last Shadow Warrior
“A heart-pounding, zero-g adventure, with kids who save the day, and a few mysteries thrown in for good measure. It’s like Gravity meets Space Case. I couldn’t stop reading!”
—Adam Perry, author of Ghosts Come Rising
“Smart, fast-paced, an absolute must for anyone who dreams of space. STEM fans, take note! This thrillride is for you!”
—Katie Slivensky, author of The Countdown Conspiracy
“Ben Gartner is the master of middle-grade voice. I was instantly hooked on this fast-paced space adventure. It’s the perfect blend of action, visual storytelling, and mystery. You don’t want to miss this book!”
—Fleur Bradley, author of Daybreak on Raven Island
“An excellent, STEM-focused narrative that will inspire middle grade readers. With moments of true emotion and self-realization that anchor the story in the complicated realities of adolescence.”
—Mary Lanni, reviewer for School Library Journal
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 15 members
Parents often promise that everything will be ok, but there are times when that is not always true. Finley Scott knows that reality all too well, and as his parents are spending nearly all their time in the hospital following his mom's accident, Fin is left mostly on his own with his "funcle" Dennis nearby. Luckily, Fin is drawn to the complexities of space travel, and one life changing contest has consumed much of his attention. When Fin learns he is one of four kids chosen to bring his design to space in order to test the prototype himself, he sees it as the perfect escape from the difficult realities he faces at home. Far from Earth, with the expanse of space at his fingertips, Fin is faced with very real–and life threatening–challenges that force him to put everything in perspective in the most memorable of ways.
At only twelve and a half years old, Fin demonstrates both intelligence and bravery well beyond his years. The events of the novel force Fin and his youthful companions to constantly think outside the box and problem solve their way out of life threatening situations, often without the assistance of adults nearby. These moments celebrate the potential found in every child that is not always given the chance to flourish. An assortment of bright and compelling characters surround Fin on his journey, and the interactions among them are both believable and heartfelt. Interestingly, Fin does most of his storytelling as a recounting told directly to the reader, which effectively breaks the fourth wall and draws readers immediately into Fin's reality. Alongside this, myriad action sequences keep readers on the edges of their seats while moments of true emotion and self-realization anchor the story in the complicated realities of adolescence.
This middle grade novel is perfect for readers who are interested in space travel and exploration. Diligently researched, this book incorporates a plethora of facts and details that are sure to satisfy STEM enthusiasts of all ages. Nearly every scene is punctuated by rich descriptions that incorporate specific scientific terminology, which is not often found in stories for this age group. At the end of the book, readers are presented with a note that differentiates fact from fiction as well as the creative liberties taken to craft Fin's story. There is also a glossary that explains even more of the potentially unfamiliar vocabulary utilized within the narrative. While everything in the book may not be completely true to life, any alterations have been made with care and serve to enhance the readability of the novel. This is an excellent, STEM-focused narrative that will inspire middle grade readers to think beyond what currently exists to envision the myriad possibilities of what could one day be.
“I’m pretty sure I’m about to die in space. And I just turned twelve and a half.” is how Finley “Fin” Scott introduces himself in the first line of Ben Gartner’s One Giant Leap. After that startling statement, “Fin” Scott’s situation gets even worse. Ironically, it looks like his story will end, just as it’s getting started. But then, Fin decides to speak directly to the reader, while he waits to die in space, and the story of how he got into this predicament begins to unfold.
Fin, along with three other kids, has won a trip to the International Space Station and a jaunt to the Gateway outpost orbiting the moon. They’d each sent an application to the StellarKid Project, along with their proposals for new equipment or technology that might be helpful for space travel. Fin’s invention is a device called SAFER, and you’ll learn more about that as his story unfolds.
In fact, you’ll learn a lot about the details of traveling to and working in space, along with plenty of interesting trivia spanning the entire history of space travel. And you won’t mind it a bit! This is not a dry, dusty, academic textbook. Fin’s adventures are vibrant, breathtaking, and occasionally heartbreaking. Most of all though, they seem real. You’ll feel as if you’re traveling along with him as he shares with us everything he sees, touches, and experiences. But beyond that, we learn how this experience makes him feel. He shares his emotional responses to extraordinary situations. And that’s important, because you see, Fin’s not just going to space – he’s also running away from big problems back home. His mom’s in the hospital recovering from a horrific accident. As the story progresses, Fin reveals more and more details about what happened to her. Fin isn’t dealing with the situation well, and sees this space trip as a chance to get away from unbearable family issues. But the story isn’t just about Fin. Each of the other three kid astronauts have their own reasons for wanting to win this trip.
Will Fin die in space? Will his mom be okay? Will he ever run out of terrible space-pun jokes? How will this adventure change the kids? How will the kids change space travel? As the story plays out, we learn the answers to these questions. Not all at once, but in a natural progression as the characters experience growth and change, so far away from home.
I found the story to be plausible, entertaining, and well-paced. It’s absolutely stuffed to the rafters with interesting details about space travel. Character development is realistic – readers can easily bond with the kids and admire the adults. The book is unputdownable. I judge books by what I call my ‘what happens next’ factor. Fin and his traveling pals are constantly leaping from one intense situation to another, in a way that makes it impossible for the reader to predict the outcome. I give One Giant Leap a What-Happens-Next score of twenty… on a scale of ten!
My thanks to author Ben Gartner, Crescent Vista Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital review copy of this book.
Review originally posted at SciFi.Radio - https://scifi.radio/2023/01/23/book-review-ben-gartners-one-giant-leap/
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