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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Camping on Other Planets by Clark Nielson is an exciting young adult adventure across a dangerous planet as a group of friends struggles to survive and return home. Three friends take a camping trip out in the desert, which was supposed to be all fun and games until everything changes. A flash of light takes a chunk of the earth and the friends off to a mysterious location on another planet. They find themselves trapped among other “specimens” taken from other planets and are forced to undergo various experiments. As it becomes clear the aliens harboring them have a dire plan in store, the friends know they have no other choice but to find a way to escape. By banding together with their new allies, they find an opportunity to achieve their freedom and take it before it’s too late but their only chance at survival is if they can make it across the harsh environment of this strange world.
Clark Nielson puts a unique spin on the idea of alien abduction as a science fiction adventure is brought to life. The experiments are terrifying and explore the perspective of specimens as they’re being studied and face the fear of no longer being of use alive. Faith also plays a role in the story as Nielson uses each of the three friends for their different struggles and their questioning of God’s role in their disappearance. As one friend prays for rescue, another lashes out against the purpose of it all while all three struggle to understand why this is all happening. Once they get through one danger, they end up facing even worse threats that stem from the environment. Escaping is only half the battle as the environment is full of dangerous creatures, harsh cold, and a dangerous desert that makes for a trip that could cost one of them their lives. Camping on Other Planets explores the power of friendship and the struggle of faith with a voyage on another planet, alien mad scientists, and the journey of finding one’s place. A must-read for young adults who love stories of action, adventure, and science fiction/fantasy.