Thursday, March 30, 2017

I'm an alien and I want to go home! by Jo Franklin, illustrated by Marty Kelley

This was an odd story. 6th grader Daniel Kendal doesn't fit anywhere. He stands out - literally - in his family, has no friends at school except weirdo Eddie and Gordon the geek, and his nasty older sister just told him he's an alien! With the help of his friends, he decides to go home to Kepler-B, the planet he's sure he came from.

With his friends' help, he tries to prepare for space travel and contact his true family. However, after a series of misadventures and a truly catastrophic Halloween, Daniel is starting to suspect he may have made a mistake.

The book comes in under 200 pages, which is great - there aren't many books for older elementary readers that aren't massive tomes - but it's very uneven writing and the black and white pencils illustrations feel too young for the intended audience. While the characters wildly swinging from maturity to naive innocence is, perhaps, realistic, I found it hard to believe that a 5th grader could actually believe they were an actual alien. One minute they're discussing whether or not Daniel is an alien and the next they're flipping each other off and doing complicated technology on computers. I would have found it more believable if Daniel's horrible sister had told him he was adopted and he and his friends had investigated that.

Daniel's family is kind of horrible. I can see why he'd hope to be adopted - his parents are oddly cavalier about his health and welfare and his sister is a really unpleasant person who never suffers any consequences. The book was funny in parts, but overall I just didn't care for it and I can't think of an audience for it at my library.

Verdict: Not recommended.

ISBN: 9780544442955; Published 2015 by Clarion; Purchased for my personal libraryI'm an alien and I want to go home! by Jo Franklin, illustrated by Marty Kelley

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