Leo Gray is embarrassed by his behind the times parents who don’t see the need for anything high-tech. They own Minutes & Widgets, a clock fixing shop, which isn’t doing so well in 2113 when most people rely on self-flying cars and robots that do all of the housework. Leo is an eleven year old science whiz who is hoping to secure a place at the Lunar Academy, located in a new city inside the moon called Luna City.
Leo arrives at Luna City and soon discovers that not everything is as it seems. He and his new friends wind up trying to solve a mystery that has catastrophic implications.
While I liked Leo, his friend Andromeda and the quirky conspiracy theorist Mr. Dawgspat I didn’t connect emotionally with any of the characters. I loved the diversity of the characters and the inclusion of a child with a prosthetic who is brilliant at sport, although when they get called One-leg by one of the mean kids it isn’t challenged. I enjoyed the descriptions of the way of life in 2113, particularly the contrasts between Leo’s old fashioned parents and everyone else.
It seemed weird to me that after promising to make contact with his family daily while he’s at Luna City there was no mention of it after this, nor any indication that his family knew anything about him being in a coma and missing the entire second semester of school as a result.
There were a couple of times where I felt I missed something when the story jumped from one part of the narrative to the next and was disappointed that the big build up to the lunar eclipse essentially fizzled for me when Leo missed it completely because he was in a coma. The story also wrapped up too quickly for my liking with Leo waking from his coma, attending a sporting match straight away and then suddenly leaving all of his friends in Luna City.
I really liked the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. Younger readers may not miss the character development I was hoping for or be troubled by the unanswered questions. Overall it was a quick, enjoyable read but I don’t think it will be memorable long term for me. If you’re sensitive about the language your children are exposed to in books you may want to know that one of the characters has a peculiar little catchphrase – HOLE-E-CRAPPER-BAPPERS. The ending lends itself to a sequel.
Thank you to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
Who hasn’t dreamed of going to the moon? That dream for eleven-year-old Leo Gray is about to come true – but he’s in for the surprise of his life!
In the year 2113, most people live in robotically maintained homes, ride around in self-flying cars, and wear ozone-resistant clothes. Most people that is; just not Leo Gray’s parents. They’re stuck in the past, and science know-it-all Leo is completely fed up with his beyond-embarrassing living arrangement with them. But when he enters a rocket-building competition for a chance to attend the Lunar Academy, Leo’s luck finally seems to turn in his favour!
However, it’s not long after stepping foot into his dorm room that Leo discovers the Moon’s celebrated city is harbouring a world of dark secrets. It’s soon a race against the clock for Leo and his friends Andromeda Groves (a code-hacking whiz from Canada), Pavo Digbi (a history buff from Brazil), and Grus Pinwheel (a musically gifted and comically endearing Aussie) to intercept and foil plans to destroy the city – leaving the group’s leader faced with a decision that no eleven-year-old should ever have to make: save Earth or save himself and the city he fought so hard to reach.