See You in the Cosmos (ebook)
by Jack Cheng
See You in the Cosmos is about Alex, an 11 year old rocket enthusiast who has made it his mission to send his golden iPod into space for intelligent life. He has recorded himself speaking on the iPod so aliens can learn more about planet Earth. Alex has a mother who is missing most of the story (but we later find out is mentally ill), an older brother who lives in LA, and a dog named after his hero, Carl Sagan. Alex goes to a rocket festival where he plans to launch his rocket, and he meets several men who take him to Las Vegas and then Los Angeles to help him find a missing dad and catch up with his brother. Along the way, Alex discovers he has a Terra, who becomes very important to him. This story is a series of events that leave you feeling sad, stressed, and confused, but only because it is told through an ongoing narrative mostly by Alex, who is naive and young, and doesn’t see things as clearly we as the readers see them.
What I liked about this book was the idea that family isn’t necessarily who created you or who you’re blood-related to. Alex had a group of people who loved and cared for him, who took on the roles of mom and dad, older siblings, grandparents, etc., even if they weren’t those people. It puts things in perspective when students are upset about not having a dad, for example, but they have a great step parent or uncle or family friend who love and care the same way a dad might.
What I didn’t like about the book (or I should say, YOU might not like about the book, it didn’t bother me so much) was the voice. It is a series of recordings by Alex, and written exactly as he would say them. That means there are missing periods, tons of run-on sentences, and there are so many things that were missing (because Alex didn’t know) that I wanted to know. It requires a bit of patience, and you have to get used to it, but I felt that added to the charm of the book. I can see my students getting frustrated with the writing, though.
Book 11 of summer 2017!