Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: First Day on Earth

Title: First Day on Earth
Author: Cecil Castelluci
Publisher: Scholastic Press (November 1, 2011)
Source: library
Rating: 9/10

A startling, wonderful novel about the true meaning of being an alien in an equally alien world.

"We are specks. Pieces of dust in this universe. Big nothings. 

"I know what I am."

Mal lives on the fringes of high school. Angry. Misunderstood. Yet loving the world -- or, at least, an idea of the world. 

Then he meets Hooper. Who says he's from another planet. And may be going home very soon.

Oh, man. Some reviews are darn near impossible to write. Not negative reviews - those are easy to write, hard to post. But some books are so perfect, they leaving you feeling oddly fragile, and like you need to lay around for a while, just hugging the book tightly. Talking about it, somehow, would ruin it.

This book is so unexpectedly, sweetly perfect. Mal is a seriously messed-up guy. His dad disappeared, his mom is an alcoholic. He believes he was abducted by aliens a few years ago, and he wants them to return and take him away forever. But he also rescues animals, takes care of his mom when she needs him, and notices more about the world around him than people give him credit for. I love Mal, and it isn't only because he has the same name as my son.

The writing is terse, the book is short, with several single sentence chapters, but the choppy feel only immerses you more deeply in Mal's shattered worldview. Cecil Castellucci does a great job with so few words, and completely won me over in 150 pages. 

This book will break your heart, and heal it up, and leave you clutching it close. I adored it. 

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