Released On March 2nd 2017 (UK)
All eleven-year old Alex wants is to launch his iPod into space. With a series of audio recordings, he will show other lifeforms out in the cosmos what life on Earth, his Earth, is really like.
But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions.
Where do I come from? Who’s out there? And, above all, How can I be brave?
Determined to find the answers, Alex sets out on a remarkable road trip that will turn his whole world upside down . . .
I can’t quite put this into words. That was gorgeous. Strange. Weird. Funny. Heart wrenching. Brilliant.
The story is told through a collection of transcripts from recordings Jack is making on his iPod with a plan to launch it into space on a rocket that he’s been building as a beacon to any intelligent lifeforms that my be out there. He’s doing this as a kind of homage to Carl Sagan (the scientist not the dog Alex has named after his hero), who was partially responsible for the golden disc sent up on the voyager probe.
After a solo trip from Colorado to New Mexico (remember that Alex is only 11), a massive road trip ensues. Gathering (and losing) companions, Alex moves from New Mexico Back to Colorado via a collection of other places. This is where stuff gets deep. There are discoveries about the past, hopes for the future, learning about humanity, discovering the meaning of family among some very outrageous (back street casinos in Las Vegas) adventures, and some more mundane yet adorable ones (apple pie a la mode).
There are parts of this, especially towards the end, that feel really grown up, and then Alex will say something so sweet and innocent and literal that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
Full of happiness, hope optimism and heart, I would recommend this to everyone!
This was so close to a 5 star book, I was just mildly uncomfortable with an 11 year old doing what Alex did.
Received as an advance copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Finished on January 30th 2017
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