Gr 4-6--What looks like a normal boarding school is just the cover for Indigo 8, the Earth command center for the Inter Planetary Defense League and its secret training facility for young Starbounders. As a new trainee, Zachary Night has big shoes to fill. His ancestors have been Starbounders for generations, his parents were expert space pilots, and his big brother was one of the youngest Elite Corps recruits ever. With his new friends, rebellious Kaylee and alien Ryic, Zachary is excited to begin training. Unfortunately, the kids discover that something is very wrong at the academy. There are way too many dangerous "accidents"-including a near-fatal malfunction in the antigravity training Qube and deadly alien vreeks set loose at a picnic. Then, the three are assigned to their first off-planet mission, and their ship is hijacked by interstellar thugs. It crash-lands on the desert planet Sirocco, and the crooks begin to regard their hostages as expendable-or possibly edible. The action-filled story races from crisis to crisis, taking the junior Starbounders across the cosmos and into the thick of a plot that threatens to destroy Indigo 8-and Earth itself. In the grand tradition of juvenile adventure tales, the kids successfully outwit adult villains, sneak in and out of enemy strongholds, and operate high-tech equipment and top-secret spacecraft. The combination of boarding school high jinks and science fiction derring-do meshes surprisingly smoothly, and there are plenty of plot threads left for a sequel. Black-and-white chapter head illustrations show many of the alien weapons and creatures described in the text. A satisfying choice.--Elaine E. Knight, formerly at Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL[Page 98]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.