The True Meaning of Smekday
Gratuity ("Tip," to her friends), finds herself in a nightmare scenario: aliens have abducted her mom. After the Boov take over the planet on Christmas day, humans are forced to move to Florida. When Tip's car breaks down on the way (she's eleven and she's a perfectly good driver, except for the stuff she hits), she reluctantly befriends a Boov who helps her with the repairs. Together with her cat, Pig, they embark on a crazy adventure to find Gratuity's mom and save the world from another set of aliens. If only Earth weren't such an appealing planet.
This book is hysterically quirky. It may not be for everyone, but if it is for you, you will adore it. It is surprisingly unique and filled with funny references and word play. It is a little like giving Katniss Everdeen a sense of humor, making her eleven, and throwing her into an Independence Day/Mars Attacks hybrid movie. It's somewhat unusual to find a female protagonist at the center of a science fiction book about an alien attack, but Gratuity's story is all the more reason to pull up a page and laugh till it hurts.
The book is long--over 400 pages--and there may be points where readers wonder what else could possibly happen to these characters. While the ending is not too hard to predict, there are too many charmingly written exchanges to miss this adventure.
Please note: Although the animated movie, "Home" is based on this book, and it captures some of the book's charm, it is directed to a younger audience, and its humor leans more toward slapstick than word play. The book is more sophisticated and clever than the movie; if you have seen it, you have not really appreciated what the book has to offer. Grade recommendation above elementary school for some profanity, but advanced upper elementary readers might really enjoy this title.
"So I sang the first Italian song that came into my head, which happened to be 'Volare.' I'm sure I need not mention at this point that I am a rock star, and it sounded fantastic."
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