I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the publisher and Lonely Pages Book Tours!
I only occasionally read Middle Grade novels but I’ve recently started loving them so much more. In September alone, I read 3 MG books which is a lot when you remember I only read 7 novels the entire month. 😀
This book is also based on a podcast by the same name for MG kids, run by MG kids! Isn’t that cute? Read on to find out what I thought of the book.
Based on the Peabody Award-winning podcast, this tech-filled adventure series pits intrepid Mars Patel and his outcast friends against a brilliant, enigmatic billionaire as they race to figure out why kids are disappearing from their school.
Mars Patel’s friend Aurora has disappeared! His teachers are clueless. His mom is stressed out about her jobs. But Mars refuses to give up–after all, his own dad disappeared when Mars was a toddler, before he and Ma moved to Puget Sound from India.
Luckily, Mars has a group of loyal friends eager to help–smart Toothpick, strong and stylish JP, and maybe-telepathic Caddie. The clues seem to point toward eccentric tech genius (and Mars’s hero) Oliver Pruitt, whose popular podcast now seems to be commenting on their quest! But when the friends investigate Pruitt’s mysterious, elite school, nothing is as it seems–and anyone could be deceiving them. Slick science, corporate conspiracies, and an endearingly nerdy protagonist make this a fresh, exciting sci-fi adventure.
Mars Patel and his motley crew of friends are ready to play detectives when two people from their gang disappear with no prior warning. They may be outcasts in their school but these extremely smart kids have got each others’ backs. Interspersed with podcast transcripts, IMs, and newspaper articles, Mars Patel is an engrossing mystery you can finish in a day or two.
The book starts off with a great premise. Missing kids, a main character labelled a conspiracy theorist, a shady billionaire (eat the rich!), and a really smart supporting cast — how can you not find this book engrossing? You’ll have a lot of questions and you won’t be able to put the book down until all of them are answered.
I absolutely loved the friend group/found family trope in this book. The kids are an adorable, diverse group and they staunchly have each others’ backs. My only problem was that they all started out really strong but their characterisation suffers in the middle. As soon as the heavy action started halfway through the book, it left character development in the dust.
In all, Mars Patel is an enthralling mystery with a motley group of diverse kids you can’t help but root for. While most questions are answered in this book, the cliffhanger ending opened up ever more for me. I can’t wait to read the sequel when it comes out and see where Chari takes these characters.