I picked up this gem at BEA this year, and I was excited and nervous at the same time. I LOVE, love, love Adam Rex's illustrations and his picture books, and I was wondering how he would translate over to novels.
Well, what a bunch of wasted nervousness!
Gratuity Tucci lives with her wacky mom. She tries to keep her mom on track, and like many only children, she seems older than her years. Then one day her mom starts acting really weird. More so than usual. Gratuity notices a mole on the back of her mom's neck, that has turned purple and is now glowing. Her mom keeps saying random words. She heads out the door into the snow, and is quickly sucked up by a spaceship. Yes, a spaceship.
So, now it's just Gratuity and her cat "Pig". They need to travel South. It seems that the aliens (called the Boov) have left humans the state of Florida. Instead of taking a rocketpod, Gratuity decides that she will drive down to Florida. Her car breaks down along the way, and she and Pig run into a Boov named J.Lo at a convenience store. He's not like the other Boov, however, and he offers to fix up Gratuity's car in exchange for a ride down to Florida. Can Gratuity trust a Boov? Especially one named J.Lo?
What follows is a rip-roaring tale that is part science fiction, and part scathing social commentary. Rex peppers the text with his signature illustration and uses the evolution of the Boov to parody our own existence on Earth.
This book is next to impossible to blurb because there is SO much going on. Themes of friendship, racism, celebrity worship, and power are woven in seamlessly. This is a very different book, but different in a good way.
One of our students read it before school ended and she said, "Stacy, you HAVE to read Smekday! It's a little hard to get into at first, cuz it's so weird. But stay with it because it is AWESOME!" I think she had the right idea!