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Last Day on Mars

(Chronicle of the Dark Star #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,147 ratings  ·  280 reviews
It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a n ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press
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Kevin Emerson I'm biased, but I think you'd still enjoy it. I kept the science and the world-building concise so that a younger reader could follow it, but I don't…moreI'm biased, but I think you'd still enjoy it. I kept the science and the world-building concise so that a younger reader could follow it, but I don't think that lowers the sophistication (fingers crossed!) and that said I consider it a story that any age reader will enjoy. If you do end up checking it out, let me know what you think!(less)

Community Reviews

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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,147 ratings  ·  280 reviews

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Ahmed  Ejaz
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, full-lengths
"And sure, we may not know yet what dangers are out there, but we also don’t know what good things we’ll find."
This book changes from 'ugh' to 'wow'. For almost first half of the book, I was feeling like it was pushing me into the slump. But thank God, the next half was sooo amazing, I just couldn't stop myself from wowing.

The blurb is amazing. That was the first thing which got me to read this. But the title attracted my attention at the first place though.
Our Solar System is about to go K
I’ll often get what I’d call reference interview questions from the internet as a whole. They come in via Twitter, Goodreads, personal emails, my website, my blog, you name it. In one recent case a parent told me that her 10-year-old son had recently devoured the rather adult The Martian by Andy Weir. She wondered if I had any recommendations for him (not on the adult side of things – just in general). So let’s break that request down. You have a kid that’s a good, advanced reader, capable of c ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, childrens, ya
This was some super science fiction and a very fast read and I can't wait for book 2. Some things about it reminded me of the excellent Across the Universe trilogy--like being in stasis as your civilization zooms across outer space for decades to get to a new habitable planet and it only feels like a few days to you. The set up of it being the last day on Mars and everyone needed to get out on time was making me incredibly tense-what if they didn't make it out! I had to keep reminding myself tha ...more
Angela Blount
Originally reviewed for YA Books Central:

A smart, solidly written work of Middle Grade sci-fi.

The book is aptly named; the vast majority of it taking place on a future Mars colony during the last day of its existence--just before it is due to be abandoned by humanity. The bulk of the story is told through the eyes of Liam Saunders-Chang, the young son of a scientist couple who are frantically attempting to perfect the teraforming technology that humanity
Sarah Hadd
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019
So so SO disappointed. This was on my TBR for years. YEARS. I love space and I love the idea of discovering what else is out there. Then after all this time, Hubs got me the book for Christmas. Yay! Win, right??
Unfortunately, this book sucked.
I guess a part of the problem is that I genuinely don’t know who the book was written for. The main characters are like, 12, so it’s not really a young adult book, but the content and tech of it is way beyond what a 5th grader could read. Because the chara
Kyky More
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Do you like futuristic sci-fi, aliens, and the idea of terraforming? Well then this book is for you!
Last Day on Mars is a science fiction book about humans in 2213, when the sun mysteriously begins the process of turning into a supernova 4.5 billion years early, humans are forced to move to Mars until they can make a 150 year trip to Aaru-5, their new permanent home.
Liam Saunders-Chang and Phoebe are son and daughter of the terraforming scientists. As their parents struggle to finish before Red
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
There have been a few books/series that i’ve read in the recent past that have centered around Mars, or space, or the notion that Earth can’t be the only planet for anyone to live on for much longer as a result of many many events. (YES, we are all very familiar with global warming, the effects that we’re having on the planet, the increase in severe weather etc). Anyhow, this story takes us on an interesting journey where there is so much that is unknown and so much that is uncertain, but it’s a ...more
Tressa (Wishful Endings)
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, middle-grade
LAST DAY ON MARS was an entertaining read with young heroes, interesting twists, and adventure with humor and friendship weaved in. A great start to this new series with a lot more to come.

I liked these characters from the start. They felt like regular kids and families trying to live as they can and survive their world ending. Literally. The teasing, friendship, and humor between Liam and Phoebe was spot on, as was the worry and stress they and those around them were under. The story starts of
Gerardo Delgadillo
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 out of 5 stars

Well, well, well, what do we have here? LAST DAYS ON MARS is like The Maze Runner in the sense that it’s super-fast paced and each chapter ends with a mystery. Luckily, LAST DAYS ON MARS is way more focused and a lot of fun! I love the crazy premise and the whole mystery. I’m not much into series, but this one really caught my attention, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out! A lot of love for this novel. Only thing I wonder about is this: Is it middle grade or young adul
Justin Langlois
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
It was a bit of slow starter for me but once it took off I was hooked. Liam and Phoebe are in way over their heads as all of humanity is racing the clock to get off of Mars before "red line" hour arrives. I love the action and the mystery surrounding the "watch" that Liam finds adds whole new dimension (literally) to the story. Lucky me that the second book is scheduled to be released next month!
Lorie Barber
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m normally not a sci-fi reader, but loved Andy Weir’s The Martian, so when some fellow teachers were raving about this one on Twitter, I thought I’d give it a shot.

I was not disappointed. Protagonist Liam and his best friend Phoebe are the last kids on Mars, along with their scientist parents. The rest of humanity, having long vacated the now-destroyed-by-the-dying-sun earth, is aboard a massive spaceship ready to take off to an Earth-like planet in another solar system. Mars is next on the s
Ms. Yingling
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Liam and Phoebe's families live on Mars because problems with the sun made Earth uninhabitable. Now, further problems are causing everyone to evacuate Mars and move to yet another planet. Liam has never really understood his parents' longing for Earth, but as he and his friends are spending their last days on Mars, he starts to get it. His parents are working at figuring out the final kinks in crucial terraforming plans, so he and Phoebe are waiting to get
Melinda Brasher
Dec 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot. The setting and conflict are awesome. The technology's cool. The pacing for the last 2/3 is really good. Things keep going from bad to worse in a very edge-of-your-seat way. The voice in the prelude is fantastic.

I did think the tiny bit of "romance" is completely unnecessary and felt forced, like it was added after some editor said, "Hey, Kevin, you need romance. Every book needs romance." But every book doesn't. This would have been stronger without.

I personally don't
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
It’s a good book, but it’s really slow and I barely got through it.
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Full review with teaching tools and teaching guide:

The suspense that builds throughout this book is palpable! I really enjoyed how Kevin Emerson used a prologue to set the stage for Liam’s world so that once Liam’s story begins, we jump right into the chaos of the the last day on Mars for all humans. What I assumed this story was going to be ended up just being the tip of the iceberg. I knew the story was going to be about humans escaping a doomed Mars,
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very exciting beginning of a MG sci-fi series. I enjoyed how the parents and kids experience the events with different viewpoints and how these perspectives shape their actions. The twists near the end set the stage for an interesting second book that I look forward to reading.
Becky B
Liam feels like he's the only one sad to say goodbye to Mars. The adults all view Mars as just a layover on their escape from the Earth, or more exactly, the Sun as it is on its way to going supernova. Their end goal is a new home in a planet called Aaru in another solar system. Today is the day the last people will board the starship for their long journey there. The only one who seems to understand Liam is his friend Phoebe, another of the kids who was born on Mars. As they prepare to leave th ...more
Mar 20, 2018 added it
Shelves: science-fiction

Opening line: “Many hundreds of light-years from the solar system you call home, inside a spindly crystal structure floating at the edge of a great nebula shaped like an eye, a yellow light began to blink.”

The cover is eye-catching and really captured my interest. I really enjoyed the concept of the universe is bigger than one can comprehend while the individual was a small part of it. The plot centering on the Sun expanding to the point that it will engulf Earth and the surrounding planets by
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a fun, breezy, YA science fiction story filled with quick action, cliffhangers and surprises, an awe-inspiring science fiction future, a daring teenage protagonist, and a potential budding romance. For young teens, it might be the start of perfect science fiction series, and my rating reflects that. As an adult, though, I was turned off a bit by the conveniences in the plot: the lack of adult supervision, the many “I have a daring idea, let’s try it, it worked!” sequences, and the ease w ...more
Krista Ivy
A story of the human race in the future. The sun is dying and the only way to survive is to run. Humans escape to Mars and are working on the science to form the needed ecosystem on another planet that they are preparing to inhabit. A conspiracy is unearthed behind the mystery of the dying sun. The future and present lies in the hands of a young boy, his best friend, and family robot (who resembles a giant panda bear).
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Bought this one for my son, based solely on the cover. Space mad that he is, and I read it with him for a school project. Supposedly written for the middle reader bracket, but overly complex writing that the middle reader bracket will struggle to wrap their heads around.

Not the easiest plot to follow, and not always the most understandable. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. There is another book that follows on but we probably won’t bother with it. Disappointed.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for middle grade science fiction, you should definitely check out this first book in the Chronicle of the Dark Star series.

The good: This book offers exciting, fast-paced suspense.
The warning: It might be a little too exciting before bedtime. Oops.

The 10-year-old and I are looking forward to Book 2! :-)
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-kids
I think it is a GREAT book for kids. It has some interesting characters and I wanted to know what would happen, but as with a lot of great books for kids, I was able to skim most of the action scenes and not miss much plot. I'm looking forward to hearing what some kids think of it.
Donna Ciriello
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, scban, middle-school
Picked this one from the SC JBAN list just so I could recommend it to middle grade boys this summer. I was not reading it for me. All I can say is wow. I was very surprised by the level of sci-fi "smart" in this kids' book. Pretty sure I'll recommend it to adult readers as well.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lonestars-18-19
3.5 stars
This book was entertaining but a lot of technical descriptions of flying drones, etc that I kind of started flossing over while reading.
I enjoyed it, but not enough to continue with the series.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The teens liked this one quite a bit, with the added bonus of the twist ending even had me by surprise. The science was very sound, and the world-building was great. I think I may read book #2 on my own!
Kris Morahan
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great middle grade sci fi! Lots of action, intrigue and premise. The main characters, young teens, are regular kids with lots of heart and courage they didn't know they had. This is the first book in the series. Highly recommended for middle grade and up readers.
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-scifi
I probably won't even officially review this one.

It's just so...bland, unexciting, monotonous, dull, awkward, ungainly... you get the point.


And I was so excited to read it, too.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great book. Unfortunately, it left me a cliffhanger! I have so many questions, but I will not share them because they are spoilers. It was so interesting. And I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in science fiction. Although, this may happen to us in the future.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book sounds promising, but I'm getting confused with the beginning, can't imagine my best 5th grade reader bein able to fathom it either. It starts out like a high fantasy book, this can be a high sci fi book, a little technical and out of this world. Maybe I will get back to it later.
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Author of sixteen novels for children and young adults, most recently LAST DAY ON MARS, BREAKOUT, and the ATLANTEANS series. His books have been published in ten different countries. Formerly a science teacher and a creative writing teacher, Kevin is also a singer and drummer. He has won a spelling bee, lost a beauty pageant, and once appeared in a Swedish TV commercial.

Other books in the series

Chronicle of the Dark Star (3 books)
  • The Oceans Between Stars
  • The Shores Beyond Time
“A year after that, the great red star, its waist now nearly to Jupiter, all at once collapsed in on itself and exploded into a supernova that vaporized every remaining planet, asteroid, and comet of the eighteenth planetary system of the third spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. A beautiful magenta-and-yellow wash spread through space, like spilled watercolors. Sensors aboard the hundreds of starliners recorded the event, but even just a short time later, when the Second Fleet would awaken near Delphi, those brilliant clouds would already be gone, and only a small, cold neutron star would remain, a celestial gravestone to humanity’s birthplace. But here, in this final moment . . . As arcs of plasma glowed . . . As stardust glittered . . . As rare elements formed in the atomic foam . . . A fleet of silent black ships, flickering like droplets, moved swiftly into the storm they had secretly created, and got to work.” 0 likes
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