With Explorer Academy, National Geographic launches an action sci-fi series taking readers to the world’s natural wonders.
The Nebula Secret (Explorer Academy #1) by Trudi Truett. National Geographic Partners, 2018, 205 pages
Reading Level: Middle Grades, ages 10-12
Recommended for: ages 10-14
Cruz Coronado has been accepted into the elite Explorers Academy, a high-tech, cutting-edge facility in Washington D. C. He’s hoping it’s not because his Aunt Marisol is an instructor there, but soon he has other worries. In short, it appears someone is trying to stop him: to disable, delay, perhaps even kill him. His mother was involved in a top-secret project before she died in a work related “accident”—could his unknown foe have killed her too?
The plot construction of this series-opener is awkward, like the author took some tried and true devices and stuck them together to launch a series featuring geographical facts. Those facts are interesting, though; once the kids are launched on their actual explorer’s mission (this book is mostly setup) the narrative and characters may develop in a worthy literary way. Fun fact: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe plays a crucial role in the plot. For the educational value, it may be worth hanging in for another installment or two. The Falcon’s Feather is already available, and The Double Helix appears in September.
Overall Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 4
- Artistic value: 3