If you’ve read much of my blog, you know I love science fiction. Even better is good sci-fi that is also funny, like this terrific new series by a first-time author.
Aliens on Vacation, by Clete Barrett Smith (lexile: 770; AR book level: 5.1; 251 pp)
“When the taxi pulled up to Grandma’s place, I wanted to burrow under the seat and cower in shame. I blinked a few times, but the view didn’t get any better. Of all the places my parents had dumped me for the summer, this was the dumpiest.”
David “Scrub” Elliott would rather be back home in Florida, at basketball camp with his best friend, but his too-busy parents have sent him all the way to the wilds of Washington state. He’s spending the summer with a hippy grandmother he’s never met, who runs a crazy outer-space themed place called the Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast. No internet, no cell phone reception, no friends — it was going to be a weird summer.
“Weird” doesn’t begin to describe it when David starts to meet the inn’s guests. None arrive by car or bus or even the front door. Each room is equipped with a transporter, and the guests — with their extra arms, 100 eyes, or glow-in-the-dark skin — come from other planets. Grandma disguises them to look (roughly) human, and they go out to enjoy a quiet vacation in a remote corner of this primitive planet, Earth.
David becomes his grandma’s right hand man in helping to care for the guests, and keep them out of trouble with the suspicious local sheriff. But then he meets this really nice local girl. How can he get to know her and still keep Grandma’s secret safe? And then there’s the camping trip with some ADHD alien kids with disastrous consequences. Will David’s fast thinking save his Grandma’s inn?
The story is fun, creative, fast-paced, and perfectly told in David’s own middle-school voice. [And a Romance Alert, for those wary of such things: There is a KISS -- you can close your eyes at that point if you want.]
There’s already a sequel: Alien on a Rampage. I can’t wait to read it!