We loved the first book and felt like we waited forever for the sequel! The last we left the PSS (Public School Spaceship) 118 and 7th graders Jack, Becka, Ari (and Doctor Shrew, his pet hamster), and Principal Lochner and a few select teachers, humanity had been "disappeared" by the Minister of an alien race, the Elvidians.
But just because Earth is empty, like, totally everyone's gone, zapped into Quarantine because of Jack's father's invention of a light-speed drive, doesn't mean the kids get out of school!
They even get promoted to 8th grade. Complete with new, harder curriculum, like training to rescue humanity. With Intro to Alien Defense. A class you can win.
Becka's totally onboard.
They're 100+ days into school (if you're a teacher, you'll get that reference ;-) when Principal Lochner announces it's time to rescue the parents -- by taking off for the Wyzard System, with a planet-sized library.
That's right, the brilliant plan is to rescue humanity with a field trip to the library! To research the Quarantine and learn all they can about it to get humanity out of it, of course.
But the ship won't take off (unless you count its attitude) and the kids are split between Hunter and his supporters who don't want to go on the mission at all -- they'd rather frolic in an empty, ungoverned-by-laws-or-parents Earth -- and Jack, Becka and Ari and their supporters, who think it's still pretty important to learn all they can about the Elividians, The Minister and Quarantine. And rescue those parents, not party because they're involuntarily away from home.
They finally get going when they're attacked by robot pirates who're total fans of Talk Like a Pirate Day. They're in the midst of a great robot uprising of the Great Robot Imperium. They take over the PSS 118's computer and tow the ship past Venus to the "SpaceMart Supercenter & Inner System Distribution Facility."
Jack, Ari and Becka impersonate robots (!!) to liberate the PSS 118 from the robots' control, and they learn there's a saboteur inside the PSS 118 who paved the way for the pirates' attack. Which, if you think back to the first book, you already knew.
Now the question is, can they escape from the robots, make any allies along the way to help them get to the library, and ferret out the mole? Not to mention, save humanity?
The book's told in multiple POVs, starting with Jack's, Ari's (told in the form of log entries) and Becka's. Ari even offers an Apocalypse Bingo card (p. 138) that could be interesting for classes to play with other sci-fi/dystopia books!
I won't spoil how it ends, just know, we're waiting on tenterhooks for the sequel! Enjoy this galactic romp.