This had a lot of good details about what it would be like to live on Mars, which is something I wanted from Emerson's Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1), before that book took off from the planet. I liked that the emergency took place entirely on the planet, and we got to see the various places where people could live. Traveling across Mars was also interesting, and very suspenseful. I really didn't think that Michael and Lilith could possibly survive! This was a fast-paced, quick read for fans of Sylvester's MINRS, Landers' Blastaway, Levy's Seventh Grade vs. The Galaxy and Buzz Aldrin's fantastic nonfiction book, Welcome to Mars.
Young readers will enjoy the fact that Michael does so many really, really stupid things; they'll be putting themselves in his shoes and thinking about how they might make other decisions. It's good to see a discussion of anxiety and panic attacks, and a bit unusual for a speculative fiction title to address these concerns.
Reading books like this make me all the more sure that I don't want to live on another planet, but the details of daily life, the survival in extreme conditions, and the friendship between Michael and Lilith will make this a great choice for young readers who need to escape Earth for a while.