by Adam Rex
It all starts with a school essay.Â
When twelve-year-old Gratuity (â€œTipâ€) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on â€œThe True Meaning of Smekdayâ€ for the National Time Capsule contest, sheâ€™s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens Â– called Boov Â– abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it â€œSmeklandâ€ (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?Â
In any case, Gratuityâ€™s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuityâ€™s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.
Fully illustrated with â€œphotos,â€ drawings, newspaper clippings, and comics sequences, this is a hilarious, perceptive, genre-bending novel by a remarkable new talent.