The Captain’s Daughters is a sci-fi novel about twins, Robin and Diane, who are kidnapped by aliens while on a vacation with their father. While Robin and Diane try to find out who kidnapped them and where they’re being taken, their father uses his position as captain of the starship Polaris to search for his missing daughters. Using help from various unexpected allies, the two sisters and their father are able to regain their bearings and begin to make their way back to each other.
Robin and Diane spend most, if not all of their time aboard the Polaris, doing homework and pulling pranks on crew members while their father captains the spaceship. Which is why they jump at the opportunity to spend a week at their grandparents’ ranch to get quality time with their father. Unfortunately for Robin and Diane, a few greedy aliens (the Mogs) have other plans and kidnap them during a horse ride. Now at the mercy of the vicious Mogs, Robin and Diane must rely on their tricks and story-telling abilities, the same attributes that got them into trouble aboard the Polaris, to get them out of the hands of their captors. But while the two sisters and their father try to find each other, the three quickly realizes that they may be far further apart than previously suspected.
With a combination of space battles, drama, adventures, and undeniably entertaining sisterly antics, The Captain’s Daughters will appeal to many audiences. Middle schoolers and young adults will be sucked into this novel as they read about Robin and Diane’s adventures. However, some parts of this story might not be appropriate for younger readers. In particular, chapter nine, “Looking Back”, where it’s revealed that Robin and Diane’s parents were killed, and their father’s brother, Uncle William, was entrusted with their care and well-being. However, this chapter isn't graphic and ends up being important to the plot.
Even though The Captain’s Daughters starts with Robin and Diane being kidnapped, readers also get to glimpse their childhood. The author, Doreen Berger, uses a series of Captain Mark’s flashbacks to present some of Robin and Diane’s defining moments. From hijacking the Polaris’ transmitters for the purpose of sending out pizza orders to learning the hard way why it’s important to listen to your parents, there’s no shortage of interesting memories. For example, takethis passage from page 287:
“He’s quite rude,” Keeran said to Diane and Robin.
Diane sighed, exasperated. “Yes, he is, isn’t he? It’s so hard to get good help these days. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do with him.
“Will he be reprimanded?” Rarten asked, so seriously that neither Diane nor Robin knew how to respond.
“When we return to the ship,” she said sadly, “I’m afraid he’ll have to be given… ice cream.”
“Ice cream?” Keeran asked. “I am not familiar with that term.”
“An old earth punishment,” Robin explained… “Very, very unpleasant.”
Rest assured, the quote is much funnier in context, and is only a small sample of the novel’s humor.
While Robin and Diane easily endear themselves to the cast of this book, observing their own special bond is one of the highlights of the story. It’s clear either sister would do anything for the other, and throughout the story their relationship only continues to strengthen. This duo is the selling point of this novel, and throughout the book their laughter, tears, and bold humor seeps through the pages. With an emotional story that plays out in the stars, The Captain’s Daughters is a must read for adventurers of all ages.
Stay tuned for Part II in which Elliott interviews the author.
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Don't forget to check out the other wonderful middle grade books on Greg Pattridge's MMGM site!