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The nebula secret

Washington, D.C., U.S.A. : National Geographic, [2018]
Physical Description:
207 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
General Note:
"Under the stars."
Twelve-year-old Cruz Coronado leaves his home in Hawaii to study and travel with other young people invited to attend the elite Explorer Academy in Washington, D.C.-- Provided by Publisher.


Call Number
J Trueit, T.

On Order



Adventure, danger, and a thrilling global mission await 12-year-old Cruz Coronado as he joins an elite school for explorers.

Cruz leaves his tranquil home in Hawaii to join 23 talented kids from around the globe to train at the Explorer Academy with the world's leading scientists to become the next generation of great explorers. But for Cruz, there's more at stake. No sooner has he arrived at the Academy than he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. In the midst of codebreaking and cool classes, new friends and augmented reality expeditions, Cruz must tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him, and why?

Readers can get in on the excitement with puzzles and codes embedded throughout.

Author Notes

TRUDI TRUEIT has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction. Her love of writing began in fourth grade when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play. She went on to be a TV news reporter and weather forecaster, but she knew her calling was in writing. Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences, and her fiction novels include The Sister Solution , Stealing Popular , and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Her expertise in kids nonfiction encompasses books on history, weather, wildlife, and Earth science. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Trudi lives in Everett, Washington.

SCOTT PLUMBE is an award-winning illustrator, designer and fine artist whose work appears in books and magazines, games, interpretive centres, private collections, and more. His illustrations have been featured in magazines such as Communication Arts (US), Applied Arts (CA), Creative Review (UK) and 3x3 (US).

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-This new National Geographic series introduces 12-year-old Cruz, who lives in Hawaii with his dad and has been accepted into the elite Explorer Academy in Washington, DC. It's where his mother, a scientist, was killed in a lab accident, and his aunt, an anthropologist, is still a teacher. He and his classmates are set to embark on an expedition aboard the ship Polaris, but only after training at this high-tech Hogwarts-like academy using things like Augmented Reality Challenges and mind-control cameras. In addition to the pressure of academics, Cruz has acquired a mysterious stalker in cowboy boots and learned that his mother's death may not have been an accident after all. When he is falsely accused of cheating and immediately expelled, he must rely on family and friends to clear his name and track down his mother's hidden journal. An afterword explains "The Truth Behind the Story" and directs readers to the online Explorer Academy. VERDICT Nonstop action and a mix of full-color photographs and drawings throughout make this appealing to aspiring explorers and reluctant readers alike, and the cliffhanger ending ensures they'll be coming back for more.-Laurie Slagenwhite Walters, Brighton District Library, Brighton, MI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

After 12-year-old Cruz Coronado is invited to attend the prestigious Explorer Academy in Washington, D.C., he leaves his Hawaii home to join fellow students from around the world who are training to become the next generation of conservationists, scientists, explorers, and more. It appears that someone is determined to obstruct Cruz's efforts, however (he is grabbed by a diver while surfing, then followed in an airport), and he soon suspects that the sabotage may be tied to his mother's mysterious death, years earlier. Cruz must discover the truth behind these events before his time at the Academy is cut short. While the story line by Trueit (The Sister Solution) focuses on the mystery, the book's real strength rests in its adventure, as its heroes, including Cruz's new friends, Emmett Lu and Sailor York, tackle puzzles and simulated missions as part of the educational process. Maps, letters, and puzzles bring the exploration to life, and back matter explores the "Truth behind the Fiction," such as notable real-life National Geographic explorers and relevant science. This exciting series opener introduces young readers to the joys of science and nature. Ages 8-12. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Following his deceased scientist mother's legacy, Cruz Coronado has been selected to attend the Explorer Academy, a school that prepares a diverse group of the brightest young budding scientists "To discover. To innovate. To protect." Prior to his departure for the academy, while taking one last surf at his favorite Kauai beach, someone tries to pull him under and then mysteriously disappears. His new roommate also notices that a strange man is following Cruz. Strange occurrences arise, the most dangerous when the students are almost killed during a training simulation. Cruz's pursuer eventually reveals himself, warning him that members of the nefarious Nebula are out to get him due to a secret project his mother had been working on. A cryptic message she left behind may provide a clue to her deathand may save his life. In the meantime, Cruz and his fellow academy recruits learn to navigate secret holographic technology called the CAVE, which prepares them for the terrain they will explore in the real world. This series opener from a new imprint of National Geographic is a fully packed high-tech adventure that offers both cool, educational facts about the planet and a diverse cast of fun characters (Cruz is Mexican-American). The plot, with preteens in a life-threatening mystery, is not new. The package is glitzy enough, with full-color illustrations throughout, that action-craving readers may not mind. "The Truth Behind the Fiction" concluding backmatter grounds the adventure.Comfortable formula fiction with a scientific twist. (Science fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The first fiction series from National Geographic's new Under the Stars imprint features Cruz Coronado, 12, who's selected to attend the elite Explorer Academy in D.C. in this action-packed illustrated adventure. Cruz and 23 other kids from around the world are training to become explorers aboard the academy's flagship, which travels around the globe doing research. As if the training and having an aunt on the faculty isn't hard enough, a scarred man in snakeskin boots is stalking Cruz. He warns Cruz to leave or Nebula will kill him like they did Cruz's mother, who died mysteriously in the academy's synthesis lab when Cruz was five. Who or what is Nebula? Can the codes that Cruz loves to decipher help him solve his mother's death? The students' training includes lessons on cool technologies available now or in the near future, plausibly incorporated into the plot. Not all the characters are fleshed out, but there's potential to learn more about them in future installments. Sure to appeal to kids who love code cracking and mysteries with cutting-edge technology.--Sharon Rawlins Copyright 2018 Booklist