Synopses & Reviews
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? Or maybe with Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on 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 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.
"Who knew the end of the world could be so hilarious? With a misfit cast of characters led by a precocious 11-year-old narrator named Gratuity 'Tip' Tucci and a bumbling alien named J.Lo who has an appetite for dental floss and air fresheners, Rex's high-octane fantasy could fairly be called an apocalyptic comedy. After the Boov (technologically advanced aliens) conquer Earth (or Smekland, as they call it, after its discoverer), they decide that humans must live on preserves; all Americans must move to Florida. Tip, driving her mother's car with her cat Pig for a passenger, meets the unexpectedly helpful Boov J.Lo, who, she later discovers, has bungled a mission and is on the lam. Parallels between the Boov and European settlers and their treatment of Native Americans deepen the impact of the story, but the author goes well beyond delivering a single political message. Incorporating dozens of his weird and wonderful illustrations and fruitfully manipulating the narrative structure, Rex skewers any number of subjects, from Disney World to various fleeting fads. Some of the best jokes come from throwaways and from J.Lo's and Tip's attempts to understand each other (when Tip asks if his society has boys and girls, he says, 'Of course. Do not to be ridicumulous,' and calmly lists the 'seven magnificent genders' of the Boov). Picture book aficionados will already know Rex from Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Pssst! (reviewed Sept. 10); now another audience can savor his wit. Ages 8-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[T]his mixed-media work, comprising letters, photos, and Rex's hilarious comics...is guaranteed to tickle the middle-school funny bone." Booklist
"[An] imaginative, wacky, hilarious sci-fi story." School Library Journal
"An exuberant, adventurous tightrope walk over the stars."
—Lisa Mantchev, author of Eyes Like Stars
"Highly, highly recommended!"
—Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of A Curse Dark as Gold
"A book that reaches for the stars and provides a thrilling ride."
"Reminiscent of the juveniles of old, Fagans story makes sci fi fun. Its loaded with wild coincidences and easily spotted inspirations (X-Men, Doctor Who), yet the underlying idea of valuing diversity, friendship, and self-esteem shines, carried by Fagans solid writing, appealing characters, and sprinkles of whimsy."
"Fagan delivers [her story] convincingly in Trixs brisk narration. Ultimately, and entertainingly, the big-top inhabitants end up seeming like artsy American high-school students, and a pitiful lamentation like 'I am the worst friend in the universe' for once doesnt seem like an exaggeration."
"Like many of Fagan's female protagonists, Trix is lovably flawed, and her often-misguided stubbornness is forgivable in light of her fierce loyalty and determination."
Fully illustrated with photos, drawings, newspaper clippings, and comics sequences, this original debut novel by a noted illustrator is a hilarious, perceptive, and genre-bending story about a 12-year-old girl who writes an essay six months after an alien race has taken over Earth.
About the Author
Adam Rex is the illustrator of The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake, Ste-e-e-e-eamboat A-Comin' by Jill Esbaum, and Small Beauties by Elvira Woodruff. He wrote and illustrated Tree Ring Circus and the New York Times best-seller Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Adam lives with his wife in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.