Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5
Genre: realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Eleven-year-old Alex is a richly-drawn, sympathetic main character. He cares for himself and his mother, who suffers from mental illness, and is determined to travel from his home in Colorado to a rocket festival in New Mexico. The book is told through a series of recordings Alex is making on an iPod which he hopes to launch into space. Throughout his trip, Alex relies on the kindness of strangers, many of whom become friends. The adults are interesting characters too, flawed yet almost universally kind-hearted, wanting to do the right thing but not always sure what the right thing is. This book delves deeply into the concept of family, and how the bonds that hold people together can be strong in spite of less-than-ideal circumstances. At times, readers will laugh, and at others they will want to cry. This is an outstanding novel.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I liked everything about this book.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend this book to mature middle-grade readers as well as to younger young adults. Adults will appreciate it too. Read Alikes? Also recommend Nest by Esther Ehrlich and Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
Who should buy this book? Middle schools and public libraries will want to purchase this book.
Where would you shelve it ? Middle grade fiction or young adult fiction, depending on the collection.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes! On the top!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Renée Wheeler, Leominster Public Library, Leominster, MA
Date of review: February 23, 2017