Voyagers: Project Alpha by D. J. MacHale
Earth is running out of fuel in this fast-paced and exciting sci-fi adventure geared towards middle grade readers. The only option left is to travel into deep space where the discovery of an alternative energy source can save the planet. Engineers have created a revolutionary propulsion system that allows a ship to travel to the far reaches of space. But here’s the catch, only children 12 and under can safely withstand the physical strain of the journey due to the time travel element of the propulsion system.
This starts a worldwide search to find the best possible astronauts for the mission. As the field narrows to eight, the children compete in a series of tests to determine the four voyagers who will be chosen for Project Alpha. The competition is headed up by Commander Phillips, who guides the candidates through the series of tests which make up the first half of the book. The competitors are four boys and four girls, all from a variety of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and skills.
Once the four are chosen and trained, they begin their mission aboard the Cloud Leopard spaceship, traveling to planet J-16 to search for the first element of the needed power source. This is where the real adventure begins and failure is not an option. Several interesting sub-plots develop, one of which is what happens to the four contestants not chosen for the mission.
This is the first volume of a six book series, all written by different authors that will be released over the course of a year. The book also contains coded clues at the bottom of certain pages, giving the book another level of interest by taking those clues and going online to crack a cipher that unlocks additional information about the story.
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