The True Meaning of Smekday

by Adam Rex
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is separated from her airheaded mother when the aliens invade. She and her new alien friend (a Boov named J.Lo) manage to drive her mother’s car from Pennsylvania to Florida and finally to Arizona, where the entire population of the United States (well, those who are still alive after the invasion, that is) are relocated, and try to find her mother.

The story is original but I had so many feelings about this book, which I discussed with a librarian friend of mine. Firstly, it smacks of American colonialism with the way the aliens take over and relocate the people. Not that it’s bad to get people thinking about how it must have felt to the American Indians to be kicked out of their lands, but it made me squirmy. The other thing was an American Indian character who embodied stereotypes and played them up to the racist characters, but to the main characters showed that he was more than that. I could have done without the references to alcoholism, specifically, but my friend reminded me that it was all to make a point. I mostly felt like both of these issues could have been handled better, instead of the in-your-face way that they were in the book. However, it’s a solid and original story and apparently they’re making a movie of it, so there you go.

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