Last Day On Mars by Kevin Emerson
Summary from Goodreads:
It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.
Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.
Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.
Kevin Emerson is a local Seattle author who deserves more attention than I think he gets. He always writes a good story and in many different genres. I really liked his Oliver Nocturne books, about a teenage vampire living in Seattle. He created a unique vampire story very different from that other vampire series set in the Pacific Northwest. He also writes for YA and has a couple of good series for them as well.
This series is a straight up science fiction for tweens and teens. It is a fascinating look at what life would be like living on Mars and about survival. Liam and Phoebe are constantly finding themselves in life threatening situations, which Liam always seems to get them out of. I really liked Liam and it is through his point of view that the story is told, except for a few side chapters told by a narrator about things happening outside of the main story, but that impact Liam’s life. There is even a little bit of ‘time travel’ and some aliens.
The book moves along at a good pace, but with enough background about living in the hostile environment of Mars and all of the technology that is needed to survive, to keep things interesting and realistic. I especially like the robot, JEFF, who looks like a giant panda. I loved that human looking robots gave people the willies, (me too) so the robot creators turned to the animal world for their robot designs. There are lots of plot twists and things that still need to be figured out by Liam and his family to keep young ones interested and wanting more. I’m not sure how many books will be in the series, I’m hoping for at least three.