I’ve been a science-fiction fan ever since I read Rusty’s Space Ship way back in elementary school (borrowed from the Decatur Public Library, in fact). My favorite sci-fi stories involve ordinary kids who are somehow invited into an adventure with weird aliens, spaceships, and interplanetary travel that they didn’t know existed. Here is a great, fast-paced, middle-grade series that fits that formula nicely and is fun to read.
My Cousin, the Alien, by Pamela Service (lexile: 720; AR book level: 4.7; 160 pp)
Zack is a perfectly normal kid — with a maybe crazy cousin, Ethan, who thinks he’s an alien. It all goes to back to when they were younger and rescued a cat from a Doberman — and the cat spoke to them. Or at least that’s what Ethan remembers; Zack swears they were just pretending. Since then Ethan’s been telling everyone he’s an alien prince, adopted by an Earth family to keep him in hiding from sinister forces on his home planet.
But what if he’s right?
The adventure begins when Zack and Ethan’s families go on vacation together. Suddenly, it seems these two strange-looking, fat, bald guys are following them everywhere. When the bald guys attack while their families are on a cave tour, Zack and Ethan have to use their wits to escape from the underground and flee into the wilderness. And lurking in the background is the white-haired lady — is she really just an old lady, or something more?
The story is fast-paced and fun, with a great surprising ending (which I won’t spoil). It continues (with plenty of aliens and adventure) in the next five books, all the way to a very satisfying conclusion.
- Camp Alien (lexile: 740; AR book level: 4.9; 160 pp)
- Alien Expedition (lexile: 780; AR book level: 5.2; 160 pp)
- Alien Encounter (lexile: 570; AR book level: 4.2; 152 pp)
- Alien Contact (lexile: 740; AR book level: 5.0; 160 pp)
- Alien Envoy (lexile: 730; AR book level: 5.0; 176 pp)