My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really loved Dan Krokos’s other book, False Memory, so I decided to take a chance and just buy this one since my library didn’t have it. That chance totally paid off, because I ended up loving The Planet Thieves just as much as False Memory. The Planet Thieves was a super quick and fun read and had a good blend of action and friendship that would make it perfect for middle schoolers (or, you know, anyone who likes adventure stories).
One thing I loved right away was the relationship between Mason and his older sister, Susan. Their relationship felt realistic to me, and the way it was introduced made it clear right away that Mason was going to be a very fun character to follow. It also made Mason easy to relate to, because even though a lot of middle schoolers aren’t going to find themselves taking charge of a group of their peers to save the planet from aliens or whatever, they are going to be able to relate to things like Mason wanting to rescue his sister and stand up for his friends, which I think was what the story was mostly about. Establishing Mason and Susan’s relationship right away also made Mason’s motivations throughout the story really clear and believable, and there were definitely a couple situations that hit me right in the feels.
Like I said in the previous paragraph, this story was more about Mason and his sister and friends than it was about the fight with the Tremist (although that was also really important, of course, since it’s the catalyst for the entire book). I loved Mason’s relationship with the other cadets, but especially Merrin and Tom. I loved how willing Mason was to stand up for Merrin even when he was outnumbered by the other cadets, and I also loved watching him and Tom go from being enemies to developing a respect for each other and learning to work as part of a team.
If you’re looking for some good middle grade to read, I recommend The Planet Thieves. This is definitely a book I’m going to keep in my back pocket for when I’m looking for things for middle schoolers to read. It’s fast-paced and has characters who are easy to relate to, so I think this is something a lot of them would love. And the whole saving the world thing would also be great for Rick Riordan fans.