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Holdout by Jeffrey Kluger

From the publisher: When evil forces are going unchecked on Earth, a principled astronaut makes a spilt-second decision to try to seek justice in the only place she knows how—the International Space Station.

The science in Holdout is good; Jeffrey Kluger is also the co-author, with astronaut Jim Lovell, of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13, which was the basis of the Apollo 13 movie released in 1995, and nine other books. The author worked fictional versions of real space incidents into the plot.I really enjoyed the descriptions of life and work in space, and the relationship between the Russian and American astronauts. Although it’s a minor plot point, I also liked the main character’s concern for the mice that were in space with her.

I did not feel there was a lot of tension in this book. Although there were dangerous situations, I was never on the edge of my seat. Also, the plot device of a non-indigenous adult rescuing an orphaned indigenous child is a bit overdone. The scenes set in the ravaged Amazon rainforest were heart rending, especially knowing how true to life they are.

Holdout could make a good book discussion book. It contains themes about standing up for what’s right, greed and hypocrisy, how indigenous peoples are treated, the environment and the Amazon rainforest, and international cooperation.

Holdout is a pretty good book. It wants to be The Martian, but it’s not quite. Still, if you enjoyed The Martian you may enjoy Holdout.

I read an advance reader copy of Holdout. The book is scheduled to be published in August. It will be available for checkout at the Galesburg Public Library. It will also be available as an ebook.

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