TITLE: The Jupiter Chronicles: The Secret of the Great Red Spot
AUTHOR: Leonardo Ramirez
LENGTH: 90 pages
SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) Book One of a Steampunk Series: A great war has been fought and lost by The Jovians. Now, the answer to their freedom lies within the Great Spot and it’s up to Ian and Callie to uncover its secret.
REVIEW: The summary above doesn’t give much information about the story. Ian and Callie live with their mother and are not quite sure what happened to their father. He left home on a voyage and never returned. Ian has faith that their father will return and as the siblings explore the items their father left behind, they discover a telescope that isn’t just a telescope and are mechanically (it’s Steampunk) transported to Jupiter. There they discover the planet is inhabited by the Jovian people and a secret that links this strange planet to their father.
Much like the amazon.com summary, this book is short and sweet. It is a great bridge book to more complex text like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins or Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. This book is simplistic in its plot structure and there are short chapters which would make it good for younger or struggling readers. The plot moves quickly and there’s not much one would wish to skip over. While clearly targeted toward a young audience, the book tackles some serious topics like abandonment and combat for sport. I feel that it borrowed a little from some of the more popular middle grades and young adult texts out there but it is a very approachable structure and simple writing for beginning and struggling readers. As an 8th grade teacher, I feel this would be a great stepping stone for my readers who are below level and are interested in The Hunger Games series or The Infernal Devices with its Steampunk elements. For more developed readers, the borrowing from other series will be obvious and even a little off-putting, but it is still worth a read for younger readers.