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Moon Beam by Travis S. Taylor and Jody Lynn Nye
Cover Artist: Dominic Harman
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781481482523
Date: 04 July 2017 List Price $18.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: T.S. Taylor's Wikipedia Entry / J.L. Nye's Website / Show Official Info /

This young adult novel focuses on a team of bright teenagers working on science projects on the Moon. Selected from all over the world, they are the best and the brightest. However, even they find the Moon a challenging and unforgiving environment when the Sun has a fit.

The novel begins with 16-year-old Barbara Winton, an Iowa farm girl. She is bright and great at keeping her father's aging equipment running. It's a talent that will serve her well in the future. She has followed the Bright Stars' projects on the Moon and yearns to join them. After applying to the project, she is amazed to learn she has been selected and begins training for travel in space and working on the Moon.

Once on the Moon, she, along with three others, is to build a radio telescope in a crater on the dark side of the Moon. When an accident sends one of the four project vehicles off the road, she figures out how to get it operational again. Gradually, the others look to her as the team leader.

The dark side is now in sunlight, and they begin the task of scraping debris out of a small crater and building shelters for staff. Disaster strikes when the sun releases a burst of intense radiation. Then, they lose communication with headquarters as all satellites are shut down. They buried the shelters and set up a water supply line from the water truck. Satisfied they can survive, they take refuge in the shelters and prepare to hunker down.

What can go wrong does, and they find the air scrubbers are not functioning. Unless they find a solution, they'll all die. Barbara has worked out an alternate communication channel by bouncing a signal off of Mars so it can be routed to the Moon base. Hopefully, the project head can help them with a solution. If not, they'll die.

The science will satisfy most YA readers while the relationships between the team members and with the project head are well-portrayed. Taylor has a number of successful series and collaborative efforts with other authors as does Nye.

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