G. Harry Stine’s 1954 Starship Through Space is a standalone juvenile SF novel. It was published under his pen name, Lee Correy. It shares a setting and a character with 1953’s And a Star to Steer Her By.
Granted a leave of absence from Schiaparelli Space Academy on Mars, Walter “Walt” Hansman is summoned back to Earth by his father. He fears that this might be bereavement leave, but Commander Le Farge assures Walt that whatever has happened, or is happening, it is not that Walt’s mother has died. Otherwise, neither the Commander nor the summons provides any hint as to what waits on Earth.
Warning: this review contains spoilers for a book I am pretty sure you will never read.