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2023 Bookish Books Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 30 books. 30% done!

2023 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska (1)
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- Australia (3)
- Canada (6)
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My Progress:

27 / 51 books. 53% done!

2023 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

20 / 25 books. 80% done!

2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

32 / 50 books. 64% done!

Booklist Queen's 2023 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

37 / 52 books. 71% done!

2023 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

41 / 52 books. 79% done!

2023 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2023 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2023 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2023 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

Book Bingo Reading Challenge

19 / 25 books. 76% done!

2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 109 books. 53% done!

Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Uplifting MG Space Adventure Makes Me Smile

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Although Bell was born on Earth, he remembers nothing about life on the Blue Planet. The 11-year-old has grown up on Mars with four other kids, six adult scientists, and one cat. He knows nothing of his biological parents; he and all the children in their settlement have been raised collectively, so everyone in the colony is one big family. Despite his unique living situation, Bell's just an ordinary kid—he does chores, has school lessons, argues with his siblings, and eats casserole (made of algae, but still) for dinner. He wonders about lots of things: what it's like to live among forests and a variety of animals on Earth, what's coming in on the next supply ship (chocolate!), and what secrets the adults are hiding. Bell knows there are other settlements nearby, so why don't the humans on Mars interact with each other? Are the other scientists, all from countries other than the U.S., really as dangerous as the adults say? What are the other colonies like? Are there kids there? 

When a virus hits the colony, leaving all the adults desperately ill, it's up to Bell and his siblings to save them. But how? In desperation, they risk everything to find the human settlements they've been told never to contact. What they discover shocks them. As they learn what really happened between the adults on Mars, they must use their new knowledge, plus every resource at their disposal, to help the people they love. Can Bell and his ordinary, sheltered crew of kids really save the day, let alone the planet? Maybe not, but they have to try...

Science fiction really isn't my thing, so I hesitated a little to pick up The Lion of Mars, the newest standalone middle grade novel by Jennifer L. Holm. I shouldn't have because the book really isn't about spaceships or robots or aliens—at its heart, it's about family. The setting is unique, the characters are likable, the plot is compelling, and the vibe is upbeat. While the story revolves around a scary event, the tale remains warm, uplifting, and entertaining. Many valuable lessons—about friendship, forgiveness, found family, kindness, etc.—are taught through the kids' experiences. More than any other book I've read this year, The Lion of Mars made me smile. I loved it.

(Readalikes: Hm, I can't think of anything. You?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love: Another library fine find


  1. Cute! And I'm always game for a book set on Mars. :D

  2. This sounds like a fun and cute MG. I might have to read this with my daughter.

  3. Like you, I might not have picked this up as sci fi really isn't my thing. But, it sounds like a lovely novel that lots of middle grade students can relate to.

  4. I've been seeing this book around lately! It seems like a cute story! 🚀


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