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Title: The True Meaning of Smekday
Author: Adam Rex
Genre: MG Sci-Fi
Content Warning: Scattered mild language
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.
I LOVED this book! It is so fun, and really well written, and the characters are perfect. The humor was so well done—from the subverted pop culture references (Happy Mouse Kingdom) to the Boov manner of speech (“Can I come into the out now?”) to the apologies after swearing. I loved it all.
I also really loved the diverse cast. Tip, the MC, is half Black, half Italian. Several of the kids at Happy Mouse Kingdom are Hispanic, and Chief Shouting Bear (my favorite character) is Native American. Well done, Mr. Rex.
I am a fan.
Score: (5 / 5)