Astrotwins by Mark Kelly

Welcome to this first book review of the new year!! In keeping with the theme of summer through this month, this first choice of mine is not one book, but two! And it’s about a pair of twins who have the wildest summer adventure you could ever imagine!! So strap yourselves in for a wild ride of a read as this summer takes off!!

Astrotwins Project blastoff twin boys rocket rising in between them starry sky
Astrotwins #1

Title: Project Blastoff

Author: Mark Kelly with Martha Freeman

Genre: Fiction – historical

Publication details: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; NY, 2015

ISBN: 9781481415453

What this book is about: Twins Mark and Scott Kelly are in big trouble when they take apart (a.k.a.destroy) their dad’s calculator. As a punishment, they are sent to their grandpa’s house, where there’s no TV. Grandpa suggests they channel their abundant energy into something constructive. He tells them it doesn’t have to be monumental and suggests they build a go-kart or something. But the twins decide on a very different project. With the help of Jenny, nicknamed Egg, and a crew of can-do kids, they set out to build a real-live rocket that will blast-off and orbit the Earth. The question soon becomes: who will get launched into space? Retired NASA astronaut and number one New York Times bestselling author Mark Kelly’s first novel is jam-packed with adventure, science, and laugh-out-loud sibling antics.

My review: Another awesome twin story!! These are the best because you know they’ll get into trouble straight away. And boy do the Kelly brothers get in some. This story captivated me from start to finish. I don’t think I like one over the other; both Mark and Scott are pretty cool kids. The whole ‘rocket-making’ saga got quite technical with lots of aeronautical terms and physics theories explained. Quite educational actually. I loved the setting of Grandpa Joe’s cabin by Greenwood Lake, New Jersey and the friends they made with Jenny “Egg” and Howard and Lisa. The description of life back then in the mid-70’s and how the Space Age influenced kids then was expertly portrayed here. I really like it because I was born only a year after. A really cool ending!!  Boys who love space and science will surely love this new story and the author. How often do you get a retired astronaut as an author!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

An additional note: In Mark Kelly’s dedication page he writes – “To my brother, Scott, who is spending one year off the planet to advance our understanding of how humans can live in space for extended period of time”. Now I’d had a vague memory of a story of twin astronauts, one going to space, one staying on Earth for a study to see how we as human beings develop or something. Imagine my surprise when reading recent news gives a story of how an American astronaut, Scott Kelly, has returned to Earth after a year in space!! Awesome or what!! And then I google Mark and Scott Kelly and find more about this study and about Mark’s second book!!

Astrotwins Project rescue twin boys inside spaceship looking out
Astrotwins #2

Title: Project Rescue

Author: Mark Kelly with Martha Freedman

Genre: historical

Publication details: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; NY, 2016

ISBN: 9781481424585

What this book is about: School vacation has barely begun and twins Mark and Scott Kelly realise it is going to be a long, hot summer. The twins are trying their best to improve their trouble-prone reputation – while getting into more than the usual number of tough situations – but it isn’t going well. This summer sure is looking dull in comparison until they hear on the news that a Russian cosmonaut is trapped inside the Salyut space station orbiting 220 miles above the Earth. They want to help, but don’t know how. Then, while visiting their grandfather’s house, the twins find a NASA Gemini ship that is being stored nearby. Complete with space suits and snacks, the twins take off to rescue the Russian spacecraft. Will they ever see their family or their grandfather’s backyard again?

My review: The sequel story to Mark Kelly’s Project Blastoff. What an exhilarating read this was!! I was gripped by each chapter and amazed at this story!! The twins are so funny but what I loved the most is that it’s based on their real lives!! Much of the narrative is peppered with aeronautical terminology and it felt as if I was in a space movie, with kids!! The characters and story-line in this book is just really well crafted and I think Mark Kelly has done an excellent job in this sequel!! I look forward to any more books that comes from him in the future!

My rating: 5 ⭐

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