This was kind of a crazy story about an eccentric kid following his dream, and then getting caught up in family drama. I enjoyed his road trip and the new friends he made.
This MG debut by Jack Cheng was unlike anything I’ve ever read! The protagonist, Alex is a really smart but naive kid who wants to send his iPod into space so that aliens can see, or rather hear what life on earth is like. Alex was like this precious cinnamon roll who I just wanted to protect *inserts crying emoji*. An interesting aspect of this novel, the author has turned the recordings into transcripts, so it’s like the reader is the one who received them. Dialogue would either be Alex repeating or summarizing what someone said, or someone(s) talking as Alex is recording (like a script). If Alex didn’t record something, we didn’t hear about it. Whether or not you’re a big MG reader, this is definitely not a book you want to miss out on! This book will make you happy and sad, laugh, and cry. And cry some more.
This unique novel is told as transcripts of the many voice recordings Alex is recording for the aliens who will eventually (he hopes) find his golden iPod in space. Alex is eleven and an active member of the online rocket-builder community. He manages to get himself to a launch event and is taken under the wing of a various cast of young adults, none of whom are really prepared to take care of him but in their own way, they all eventually help him to find out what is really going on in his family life. The story has a lot of literal twists and turns, as Alex goes from Colorado, to New Mexico, to Nevada to California then back to Colorado but it has emotional twists and turns as well. Alex has a complicated family and it is through his voice recordings that readers will uncover the truth as he begins to figure things out.
Alex is an 11 year old boy who loves space, rockets (he's building his own!), and looks up to his idol Carl Sagan (he named his dog after him). Alex is 11 but "13 in responsibility years." His older brother lives out of state and rarely visits, and his Mom isn't always reliable. Alex is singularly focused on getting his rocket to a competition and launching his Golden iPod out into space for aliens to listen to. The book is in the form of these recordings.
It's amazing what you miss as you see the world through the eyes of an 11 year old. As the book progresses from road trip into something else you realise that there's a lot implied here that you've just accepted because that's Alex's reality. He doesn't report these things because it's normal for him and adults haven't had the best track record with him.
Alex takes us on a journey to launch a rocket, to figure out his family, and answer those oh so wonderful questions of identity and purpose - and he inspires the adults around him to think about these questions too,
You'll fall in love with Alex; and the scared and gassy canine Carl Sagan too.
I listened to this one and the audiobook is truly excellent! There were so many twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. I also enjoyed the way that the author and characters deal with mental illness. Finally, the format of this book is very unique - it might feel a bit like stream of consciousness if you are reading this book, but I thought that it was so interesting to try to write audio. Highly recommend for 4th-8th graders.
This is a great choice for middle grade readers...or any adult that loves science and likes to laugh! Alex and his dog, Carl Sagan are a heartwarming pair. Definitely give the audiobook a try! The full cast and extra effects really bring Alex's podcasts to life. Bonus: The terrible astronomy jokes and puns take this one to the next level!
white_spider_36 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over
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