Navigating the social hierarchies of middle school can be treacherous enough even when you’re not a lizard person recently relocated from your old home deep inside the earth. Jonathan Hill’s artwork is deceptive in both its simplicity and its whimsy, imbuing this tale with suspense and depth. You may think it’s an imaginative, funny sci-fi-tinged page-turner — and it is — but it’s also a wise exploration of the immigrant experience and the universal need for belonging. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
For anyone who hides their true and timid self, who wants to fit in, who wishes they weren't a misfit, this book is for you. Especially if you're convinced you must be an alien or a mutant or maybe a whole other species from all those happy and normal people around you, this book is for you. Or if you're just a nerd, and you like seeing the world through different lenses, this book is for you. Recommended By Doug C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Drawing on the experiences of his Vietnamese American family and his love of '80s sci-fi shows, Jonathan Hill crafts a funny, insightful graphic novel about the immigrant experience and the perils of middle school.
Threatened with diminishing resources, Booger Lizk't and his family flee their lizard community deep below Earth's crust to survive above among humans. The Lizk't family of Elberon now passes as the Tomkins family of Eagle Valley. "Tommy Tomkins" wears a human face to school but can't seem to fit in no matter how he looks. The basketball team becomes a pipe dream when bullies label him a bug eater, and only Dung Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam and fellow outsider, sees Tommy for who he is inside, which is nothing like the outer-space lizard invaders on TV's hottest series. Can their friendship survive the truth? In his first solo middle-grade book, award-winning creator Jonathan Hill perfectly captures the sometimes dystopian drama of middle school while reminding readers of the universal need for belonging.
“[A] clever and subtly deep graphic novel….Vivid colors, wry humor, and playful ignoring of traditional panel structure lighten the heaviest moments, firmly focusing this story on working toward better things.” The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“A captivating graphic novel about identity with suspense, humor, twists and turns, and plenty of heart. I absolutely loved this book.”
Aron Nels Steinke, Eisner Award-winning author of the Mr. Wolf's Class series
“This book will make you squirm and warm your heart. Beautiful art and a compelling story of self-acceptance.”
Nidhi Chanani, author of Pashmina
“Starting at a new school is hard — especially if your last school was located in Earth's core! This is a gripping and ultimately very moving story about a boy seeking to gain acceptance for who he is when blending in is no longer an option. It's also a story with great lashings of drama, mystery, adventure, and just a pinch of X-Files weirdness. I loved it.”
Ross MacDonald, author of Henry's Hand
About the Author
Jonathan Hill is the creator of Odessa and the cocreator of Americus and Science Comics: Wild Weather: Storms, Meteorology, and Climate. An Ignatz Award-nominated graphic novelist, illustrator, and educator, he lives in Portland, Oregon.