The year is 2011 and eleven-year old Gratuity Tucci’s mother has been kidnapped by aliens. Again. After her first abduction, Gratuity’s mother returned with a disturbing mole on the back of her neck that actually blinked purple, red, and green. Gratuity (or “Tip” to her friends) was the only one who thought something was seriously wrong until the aliens, the Boov, colonized the planet Smekland, formerly known as Earth. After a couple of months the Boov decide that all of the natives would really be happier if they all moved to Florida and thus Gratuity begins the road trip of a lifetime. She manages to pick up a renegade Boov, learn the secrets of the Happy Mouse Kingdom, find her mom, and clone her cat on the way to saving what’s left of humanity from another, even more sinister race of aliens, the Hoegardians. Sound complicated? Believe me, it was. The best parts of the book are the hilarious comic illustrations of Gratuity and her Boov friend, J.Lo.
I mean I loved, loved, loved the illustrations! And I wanted to love the book too because I love science fiction and funny science fiction in particular. But the humorous drawings and complicated storyline were not enough to justify the lengthiness of the book (four hundred and sixteen pages!) especially when you consider the intended audience- ages 8 and up. Author-illustrator Adam Rex (of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich fame) definitely has a great concept for the book, I just think it would have been better with a tighter storyline. I would recommend it to my advanced younger readers who are into the genre. Other recommendations? The My Teacher is an Alien series by Bruce Coville and Under Alien Stars by Pamela Service.