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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It may not be the best time to go into space, but twelve-year-old Fin is one of four winners of the StellarKid Project that will take them on a trip to the International Space Station. He really wants to go, but his Mom is still in rehab, recovering from a near-death experience. Should he leave his parents and accept the trip into space? Will his Uncle Dennis stand in as his guardian? For Fin, this is a dream come true. But will the dream put him in danger in outer space? There is danger lurking and space junk causing havoc and putting everyone at risk. Fin’s opening line, “I’m pretty sure I’m about to die in space” may well be his last thought.
Ben Gartner’s middle-grade novel, One Giant Leap, is a grand adventure in outer space that will have young readers gripping their seats to the very end. The story is told in the first-person narrative from Fin’s point of view. The language is simple and applicable to the preteen age group. With a typical young boy’s sense of humor, readers will feel at home with a young protagonist who really isn’t much different than they are. The author has a strong command of descriptive narrative and really immerses readers in the setting and action. Dialogue is well used to ease the reading and make the story more realistic. The opening line really hooks the reader as they wonder how a young boy ended up floating in space, close to death. The space adventure itself is well-researched and the book ends with a fact versus fiction author’s note and a useful glossary of terms. A powerful, rollicking adventure for the young and the young at heart.