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Life on Mars

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  633 ratings  ·  132 reviews
Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers' quest to find life on other planets seems at an end when his parents decide to move to Las Vegas, but while they look for a house he stays with his neighbor, an astronaut who soon becomes a friend.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  633 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
M-a zguduit mai mult decât aș fi crezut. Recenzia :
Skillfully constructed middle-grade novel unusual in its casting of a boy protagonist with such depth of character and emotion. The planetary motif runs through this story about a constellation of family and friends. Arty, short for Arcterus (a star), lives with his parents and sisters Cassi (short for Cassiopea) and Vega, and forms a trio of best friends with boy Tripp (so called because of his klutziness) and girl Priya (whose mother dresses in her traditional Indian garb). He follows passion ...more
The Styling Librarian
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Life on Mars by Jennifer Brown – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – Publ. August 2014- Well, I wasn’t sure what to expect about this book but I just fell for it hard. Couldn’t stop reading. What a quirky, touching story packed with humor and wonderful family interactions. I’ve read another book that also has a slightly obsessed about space character but this one takes the cake. Loved how a relationship developed right through the story, with barely any words but so powerful and important. Jus ...more
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, contemporary, kidlit
It's refreshing to read a book that talks about space but isn't science fiction. Arty (short for Arcturus, middle name: Betelgeuse) is obsessed with signaling to Mars, wanting to be the first person who discovers signs of life there. His dad has always encouraged this, and works at the local observatory. But when his dad loses his job, and they are faced with a cross-country move, Arty's world starts to fall apart. Each member of the family seems caught up in their own private drama over the mov ...more
Russ Bruxvoort
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am surprised at how much I liked this book. It is about a boy who loves space. A grouchy, old man moves next door and he ends up being a good, space friend of Arty's. This is a really good story.
Jennifer Eckert
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Arcturus, or Arty for short, comes from a long line of stargazers and loves all things space. He's currently working on a long term project to make contact with any life that may be inhabiting Mars. But his plans are turned upside down by the arrival of a new mysterious neighbor and the news that his father got a job in Vegas and the whole family has to pack up and move. I laughed out loud regularly, but needed tissues by the end. This is an excellent middle grade novel with lots of fun space fa ...more
Chris Blocker
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-kids
I was looking for a story to read my youngest when I stumbled upon Life on Mars. I'm not much for juvenile lit; I am selective. I have the same overall expectations for juvenile stories as I do for adult literature. Too often, I'm disappointed, as most children's stories are plot heavy, and I tire from stories that depend on plot. Life on Mars sounded promising, and to its credit, it served up a tale that focused as much on character development as it did moving the story forward. But there were ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was fun to read, but I would have liked to see more things happen on mars. I would recommend this book to someone looking for a science book but not a science fiction book. When I started reading this, I was judging the book by it's title. I was expecting some cool space stuff and perhaps the discovery of something on mars, but all I got was a shoe eating dog and a face eating zombie. Don't get me wrong, this book was fun to read but just not what I expected.
J. Mann
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Is there life on Mars? Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers, named after a star, is on a mission to find out. But when his father loses his job and his family must move from the only place Arty has ever known to Las Vegas, his important mission is threatened. Now Arty, and the world, will never know. But then a new neighbor moves in next door and helps Arty stay the course. This a very funny, and at many times beautiful story. I’m a total sucker for the child/adult friendship. We have so ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a fun read, and I'll be adding this book to my middle school classroom library. The characters and relationships were well developed and interesting. I really enjoyed all the random astronomy facts and stories about constellations that were included. It had a good balance of intellectual information and middle school humor. In addition to the humor, it tackled some very realistic struggles for readers about friendship, family change, and loss.

* I received an electronic copy of this boo
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars...if I was a little more knowledgeable about space and stars (I know only a few constellations), it probably would have been a solid 4 stars. I'm a sucker for a good middle-school-kid-becomes-friends-with-an-elderly-person-book, and this one had the kind of humor and emotion that I appreciate. I wish there had been a little bit more character development and interaction (a lot of the book is simply Ary's narration), but I still enjoyed the story.
Jessica Swanson
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book over the course of a few weeks every evening with my 10 year old son. The story was wonderfully written, at times hilarious and others beautifully touching. We enjoyed this book immensely.
Jun 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
**I received an ARC of this title through Netgalley.**

I loved this book. It surprised me how much I loved the characters and the story. Despite the cover, there is so much more to this story. Highly recommended.
Niki (Daydream Reader)
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I thought this story was very funny, touching and sweet. I think reluctant readers who love space will adore this book!
Jen Doucette
Nov 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-with-ev
Evan and I have been reading this together for quite awhile. The longer I read it, the more it endeared me. Just a simple book about a boy who loved space.
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who know astronomy is not astrology!
Shelves: classroom-reads
Some BAD Science within the story so readers beware!!!

So to understand my review you need to know a little about where I'm coming from and my perspective and you might understand why I rated this book the way I did:

First off, I could be Arty... I'm a 3rd grade Teacher, member of the National Science Teachers Association, Planetary Society, Astronomy League and NASA's Night Sky Network and I teach at a NASA Explorer School. I'm in my 30s and I've been an amateur astronomer since I was about 12
Brady Ryan
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-liana
This is the story of an 11-year old boy (or so) who is completely enamored with sky watching. In particular, he has built a contraption to try to contact any life on Mars. He climbs onto the roof of his house to run his machine every night.

Then two things happen -- his dad loses his job and finds a new job, but in Las Vega (far away) and a weird old man moves into the house across the street.

The boy wrestles with having to move, losing his friends, gaining a new friend and being a boy.

I really l
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
3 quarter 2nd choice book:

Life on Mars doesn't actually take place on Mars. Arty's dad lost his job, but theirs a job offering in Las Vegas, and know they have to move to Las Vegas. A new neighbor is an astronomer. Arty becomes good friends with him, I think that it's cool that children and adults can be friends. When I picked this book to read for my 2nd choice book I thought there would be some cool things in space. But not really. I think this was a good book to read it had a lot of funny jo
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm sure I'm the last to know that the author of this William Allen White award-winner book is Jennifer Brown, who grew up in Lees Summit and still lives in the Kansas City area. I always enjoy books with local references.

This "Juvenile" book (read for work) was a bit slow to start but finished fast. I found it slightly predictable in the plotting but the dialogue and characters seemed genuine and true to their middle-school selves.

As usual, the fun facts at the end of the book were the best par
Brooklyn Malau
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robin M.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-s-fiction
I thought it was really good and fun, but the characters ages were very strange in comparison to their behavior. At times, Arty seemed both too old and too young to be going into 7th grade. Also, Cassi and Priya were strangely handled--this whole "ew gross, science is boring nerdy stuff" pervaded their characterization, and the whole "girls are so weird" was annoying to read. Especially coming from a female author. But overall, the story was enjoyable.
Heidi Stallman
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved Life on Mars. This book was funny, heart-warming and clever. It's populated with totally believable and lovable characters, both adults and kids, who I rooted for all the way - even the grouchy neighbor and The Bacteria. I can't wait to read it again out loud to my kids. I highly recommend this charming and irresistible middle grade novel to anyone who loves quality children's literature served up with plenty of laughs.
Dianna Winget
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun, original read, full of humor and kid friendly goofiness, wrapped nicely around the themes of family, friendship, and adjusting to change. I had the pleasure of hanging out with author, Jennifer Brown, when we were in Emporia, Kansas, receiving our 2017 William Allen White awards, and I can definitely see why Life on Mars won the 3rd-5th grade division!
Kaleb Ahern
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story about a boy who loves space. I think it was an awesome book very heart warming. The thing that was heart warming was he made a new friend, made some discoveries, and moved to a whole new state.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for my middle-school reader, and ended up spending an afternoon with the story myself. This was a quick, entertaining read filled with information, humor, and feels. Well-written and totally worth the short time that it took to read it.
Tania Joseph
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
this book was quite interesting. i had a huge obsession with the solar system and this book made me shiver. (in a good way) i loved how the ending of this book was so good but, it was a bit predictable. this book was a mix of happy, funny and sad at times which makes it a great read.
Hailee Scheffer
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-log
Not a bad book and I think middle grades would enjoy it! I wasn't as invested in this book as I wanted to be though. Maybe if I read it again i will feel differently
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Glued to the pages. Absolutely beautiful.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grief, family, ya, science
After a rough start for me, this turned out to be very good and thoughtful.
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Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer's debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfec
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