Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret

Thank you to the lovely people at National Geographic for my copy of Explorer Academy by Trudi Trueit.  All thoughts and images are my own.


Title: Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret
Author: Trudi Trueit
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure Novel
Pub date: September 4, 2018
Read if you like: Spy Kids, Magic Tree House, A Wrinkle in Time.


Reading this book is probably the most fun I have had all week (and it’s been a fun week!).  I did not want it to end. It’s a part of a series and I wish they were all out at once so I could get more of the Explorer Academy right now.  It’s safe to say that ten-year-old Morgan would have been obsessed.

This is a perfect book for the back to school period – the Explorer Academy is one of the coolest boarding schools I’ve ever experienced (like almost the Hogwarts of science).  I loved learning about all of the technology the explorers have access to – mind-controlled photography? A virtual reality classroom? Are you kidding? Sign me up!

It’s also extremely educational.  This story is a part of National Geographic’s new fiction imprint: Under the Stars, but all of the science is based on fact and all of the discoveries are based on real Nat Geo explorers.  Readers have the opportunity to learn about the inspiration in the last few pages of resources, which feature profiles of the explorers themselves. It examines all areas of exploring – scientific pursuits, journalism, archeology, conservation, and so many others.

Apart from the learning you will inevitably do, it very beautifully captures what grief is like for a child or a young adult.  Cruz lost his mom at a young age and no amount of time or distance dulls the pain from that kind of loss.  Trueit expertly works that experience into her narrative.

Finally, it’s absolutely stunning.  It would make a brilliant gift for a child (or an adventure-seeking child at heart).  There are illustrations, secret codes, maps, and more. At only $17 for a beautiful hard cover, I think this book makes a perfect gift.  If you are or if you have a child who loves science, exploring, or adventure, you really should get them this book.

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I’m so grateful to Nat Geo for having me at their one day pop-up recruitment center and I’m so eager for the second book to be published so I can return to the Academy!

Interested in Explorer Academy?  Click here to support your local indie bookstore or here to buy it on Amazon.


From the colorful lore and proud tradition of the Society’s early adventures to the high-tech and cutting edge discoveries of the future, the beginning of 12-year-old Cruz Coronado’s journey at the elite Explorer Academy is filled with computer-simulated expeditions, lessons from real explorers in the field, and mysterious circumstances that have nothing to do with the school.

His mother had also attended the Academy and had gone on to achieve groundbreaking success in a secretive research division of its parent organization, before a tragic lab accident took her life.  Cruz hoped that following in her footsteps would help him get to know the woman who died when he was young, but his own suspicious, near-fatal incident and a cryptic warning confirm his worst fear: His mother’s death was no accident.  Now someone does not want him at the Academy, either. In fact, someone doesn’t even want him alive.

Suddenly, he finds himself at the center of a high-stakes international search for a missing formula that only he can decode.  With the help of Lani, his best pal back home, and his new friends Emmett and Sailor, Cruz begins piecing together the complicated puzzle.  By the time he boards Orion, the flagship of the Academy’s fleet, to embark on his first mission at sea, Cruz’s destiny and the fate of his friends – and maybe even the future of the world – are all in his hands.

Keep your eyes open for secret symbols, codes, and puzzles hidden throughout the book.

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