Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex


By: Adam Rex
Genre: Sci-Fi/Humorous
First Published: 2007
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
POV: First Person


Description:
It all starts with a school essay.
When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens – called Boov – abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it “Smekland” (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?
In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuity’s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.
Fully illustrated with “photos,” drawings, newspaper clippings, and comics sequences, this is a hilarious, perceptive, genre-bending novel by a remarkable new talent. the planet from a really big catastrophe.
Main Character: Gratuity (or Tip as her friends call her) is twelve, and she is pretty take charge. 

Allies and Enemies: J.Lo (not the singer) the Boov. He is a fugitive Boov who made a colossal mistake and is now on the run with Gratuity. He starts out "evil" but we really quickly come to see that he's not the kind of invading alien we've always imagined.

Setting: Earth...I mean Smekland.

Quote:
“The United States was a big country where everybody wore funny t-shirts and ate too much.” 

Review: This book is very clever with a lot of heart. I love that in a middle grade. And I think that most other people figured out that this book is pretty awesome since it is being released in 2015 as the animated motion picture, Home

Anyway, the book jumps around in time a little because it starts out on the premise that Gratuity is writing an entry for an essay contest about what Smekday really means. She has a little bit of insight since her mom was abducted by the Boov and she befriended a Boov as she tried to figure out what she was doing with her post-invasion life. 

They have a lot of funny adventures and misunderstandings. It's like an alien roadtrip story (think Planes, Trains and Automobiles but with a twelve-year-old girl and an alien...so not really that different maybe). Also, there are funny observations on what the world would do if it were taken over by an overconfident alien race (hint: we would be pretty clueless).

Some of the best parts are when J.Lo the Boov and Gratuity have misunderstandings. J.Lo and the Boov do not use Earth products the way they were intended (for example they eat cleaning supplies and wiper fluid). There are also pretty hilarious comic strips that J.Lo the Boov drew that tell us the history of the Boov.

Recommendations: Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barett Smith

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