Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us is a childrenís fantasy/science fiction novel written by Maggie Daniels and Matt Michel. The Bridgeport County Youth Association was getting concerned about the scarcity of kids actually interested in playing baseball anymore, so much so that just about any kid who wanted to play would have no problem getting chosen for the AAA league. The Associationís new coach, Scott Mirkana, who had actually played for the majors, had no issue with drafting those players that no other coach wanted. The others wondered what his strategy was, but he left the meeting with an air of nonchalance. By the fourth practice, Mirkanaís team was learning to cope with Assistant Coach Beckís abrasive coaching style and had already nicknamed him Coach Bark. Mirkana had four team members he was particularly interested in: Seth was a gifted and intuitive mathematician who saw the world in terms of numbers and measurements; Alex was probably the fastest young runner he had ever seen; Jared was a pitching wunderkind and Chase was a natural at anything mechanical, a gift he had inherited from his grandfather. The four seemed to have absolutely nothing in common until Mirkana sent them to the Snack Shack with some rather strange directions.
Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us introduces kids to elementary aspects of physics and other STEM subjects, but donít tell them that. Instead, let them find out while entranced in an exciting and unpredictable story that melds baseball and interplanetary action and adventure as the four teammates set out upon a crucial and seemingly impossible mission. The authorsí plot actually shows that there are real life applications to the esoterics of science and technology, and the way Alex and her fellow teammates use their talents and work together to make things happen is marvelous to see. Along the way, the reader gets a grand introduction to some of the more confusing aspects of physics, and suddenly those fearsome concepts donít seem quite so difficult after all -- at least that was my experience. The plot is a grand one, the characters are credible and finely delineated, and the action makes this book virtually impossible to put down. Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us is most highly recommended.
- Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
My kid loved this book. To be honest, I didnít tell him much about it. I just told him it told a story about baseball and itís all he cares about since he turned nine. But heís been struggling in school and I wanted to get him at least a little interested in math or science or something like that. I saw this and figured we would at least try it out. So I told him it was a book about kids on a baseball team and he dove right in. He had a hard time in a few of the sections but heís pretty smart and about halfway through, he stopped asking me questions and just read it. Quietest afternoons Iíve had for a while. Between everything we have going on, he finished the story in about a week. And he loved it! I was nervous for a while with him asking so many questions but that didnít deter him and heís already wanting to read it again. He said he knows people like all the characters, so they made a real impression on him, and now heís quietly doing his math homework and weíre going to the library this weekend to get him some books to help him with his numbers. It definitely helped us all out!
- USA Book Reviewers
Adult Customer Reviews:
A supremely entertaining and reliable STEM resource
In STRXIA: THE ODDS ARE AGAINST US, four distinctly different 10-year-olds with highly developed specialized aptitudes must work together to save a parallel world, Strxia, from a group of power-hungry scientists known as The Odds.
This book is middle grade science fiction at its best: filled with action, adventure, mystery, suspense, and humor. The story is well-crafted and fast-paced, while the settings and characters are well-defined and incredibly, uproariously descriptive. There's plenty for readers to root for and the book's dual story line will please fantasy fans as well as fans of sports stories.
At the heart of the story is the group of 10-year-old heroes, each one interesting and relatable with entertaining backstory
and discernible personalities, strengths, and flaws. Each of these characters has their own
coming-of-age moment which allows
them to become valued members of the team.
What impressed me the most about this book is the depth and scope of the authors' knowledge. Readers will learn mathematical
concepts, the principles of dynamics, Newton's Laws, the science behind baseball and car engine repair - all in an entertaining,
humorous, easily digestible way. I believe this book will help put an end to the question:
Why do I have to learn this stuff? by
providing plenty of relatable and interesting uses for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As a middle school librarian
and a parent, I know how valuable and sought after STEM education has become, so it's a huge benefit that all the STEM principles
presented in this book are backed by a professional engineer for an aerospace company.
I recommend this book for boys and girls, ages 8-12, and to math and science educators and parents seeking to introduce STEM concepts in an entertaining and relatable context.
- Diane Owens, Author of NO ORDINARY LIZARD
Can They Beat the Odds?
Seth Cox isnít the most athletic kid, and heís a bit surprised during the Little League draft when he gets selected by a new coach. It turns out that making the baseball team will be the least shocking thing to happen to Seth for a while. He makes the team with Alex, Chase, and super pitcher, Jared. Although they know each other they arenít close friends and even get into a disagreement during the first practice. This seems to be the reason Coach Mirkana tells them they will be staying late at practice from now on to help clean up. He directs them to go to the Snack Shack and ask someone named Retne for four cups of coffee and four Tixie sticks, which really confuses them. They find the lady they need to talk to sleeping and she gives them strange directions that lead them to Strxia, a parallel world. The foursome learn that odd numbers arenít allowed to be used by most people in Strxia, only the elite, and the impact will be utter destruction. Seth, Alex, Chase, and Jared discover that they have to work together to get the Encryption Pack and beat the odds. But how will they do that? While they are away in Strxia their Earth selves will be living a parallel life playing in baseball games. Actions in either place will impact each other and reflect what is happening. Can they get the pack and make it out alive? Do they have what it takes to work together and travel through time and space? Will anger and stubbornness prevent them from reaching their goal? What will happen if they donít succeed? Journey through worlds and discover if they have what it takes to beat the odds.
Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us by Maggie Daniels and Matt Michel is a sci-fi adventure. Starting off with baseball tryouts will appeal to those who love the sport, like Chase and Jared. Those who donít love it will agree with Seth. The characters were each unique, and readers will be able to relate to at least one of them. Alex is fast and stands up for herself, which I really liked. Chase is always cracking jokes and would be fun to have around. Seth seems like a nice guy who is amazing at math and science and likes to think things through, which are all qualities I like in friends. Baseball fanatic, Jared, has the hardest time listening to what others say, but I like his confidence in his abilities. It was fascinating to see how their lives at each point in time intertwined. If they did something well in Stxia, they played better in the game, which was cool and definitely interesting to think about. I recommend this book to anyone age eight and up who enjoys getting lost in other worlds. Sci-fi can involve some tricky math and science and the authors did a great job making sure readers understand what's happening and how the worlds work. The story will appeal to those who love technology, baseball, math, and space travel. This adventure wraps up, but readers can tell that there's more in store for the foursome as they work to save Strxia. I look forward to reading the next book and finding out what else is in store for them!
- Stephanie Robinson, Author of THE SECRET FILES OF FAIRDAY MORROW
Clever Middle-Grade Book About Teamwork
Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us is a well-written middle-grade novel in which the value of teamwork and sacrifice is on full display. Through strong character development, expertly-paced action, and the implementation of STEM principles, the authors tell an entertaining and enriching story culminating with a sequence of parallel actions in Strxia and on Earth sure to enthrall young readers. Iíd recommend Strxia: The Odds Are Against Us for young baseball fans and future engineers and physicists.
- Josh Malacki, Author of DETOURS AND DESIGNS
Child Customer Reviews:
Matthew K. (10 year old): Strxia is a great book for all 8-12 year olds and for baseball lovers of all ages and the plot will trick you like a change-up. I enjoyed this book because it had a perfect example of a 10-11 year old baseball team. I should know because my team is just like this. I think that they should make more books in a series.
- Amazon Customer, Juli Kim
My 11 year old son's review: Strxia is a good fantasy/ Sci-fi with well-written characters and an interesting plot. My least favorite thing about Strxia is how short the book is. I'm looking forward to a sequel. Personally, I found the characters relatable at times, despite everything that was going on in the book. Another thing i did not like was that the ending wasn't very satisfying, and left me waiting eagerly for a sequel. The best thing about the book is how well written it is. It creates a world that sucks readers into the story. The imagery was great and did not disappoint.
Overall, I give Strxia a 4.5/5. Thank you to the author for sending us this book early so we could read and review it.
- Amazon Customer, Amarillo