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True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Imagine this. Your planet has been invaded by an alien race known as the Boov and you have to find your kidnapped mother all the way in Florida. Put this together with a Happy Mice Kingdom and an alien race that speak to each other by punching and you have The True Meaning of Smekday.
The book is about a girl named Gratuity who travels alongside her pet cat, Pig, and a Boov companion known as J.Lo. She drives across the country in her tricked out hovercar named Slushious. This story had me chuckling and grinning at its hilarious dialogue and voice style. It also has nice little plot twist and ending that I can’t give away. Accompanied by J. Lo’s comics, Adam Rex’s The True Meaning of Smekday is an excellent story that appeals to kids ages ten to fourteen. The premise of the book was very original and hasn’t been done before. To me, it’s a creative play on the classic alien invasion story. You have not one, but two alien races invading Earth.
The main character of the story is Gratuity, who is an eleven year old girl living on Earth. The story is written through her eyes and is done quite well. Throughout the book, she has shown that she has massive amounts of bravery and courage. For example, she actually had the guts to get in a car and drive all the way to Arizona.
Something I liked about the story were the intriguing descriptions it gave. One of the passages I liked was:
“Suddenly, the Gorg ship lowered its aim and began punching huge holes in the landscape, opening a line of fire toward the Boov. Slushious, which was already shaking enough rocked from waves of force and sprays of rock and earth. Pig let out a deep whine like a slow fire engine.”
The sentence in the passage where it says, “Suddenly, the Gorg ship lowered its aim and began punching huge holes in the landscape…” was humorous to me because in the book, when it explains the Gorg’s language it says that they speak by punching each other. Then the line “Slushious, which was already shaking enough, rocked from waves of force and sprays of rock and earth,” gave me a really good visual on what is happening and I found it really descriptive.
One of my favorite characters is the humorous and intelligent J. Lo. His knowledge of the English language is very entertaining. His dialogue kind of makes me grin at how corny it sounds in my head. For example, when he hears something absurd he’ll say something like, “Get out of town.” When he hears something absolutely amazing he says, “Wicked!” And I find it really funny when he thinks he’s an “English Superstar” as said in this passage:
"YOU have no room to laugh, that's all. I'm not doing any worse with Boovish than you did with English.”
“Get off of the car,” J.Lo huffed. “I am an English superstar.”
“Uh-uh. There's no comparison. 'Gratuity' in written Boovish has seventeen different bubbles that all have to be the right size and in the right place. 'J.Lo' in written English only has three letters, and you still spelled it 'M-smiley face-pound sign."
Just reading this passage makes me chuckle especially the phrase, “Get off of the car.” The way it looks and how I read it just seems to make me laugh a little.
I liked the character development throughout the book was insinuatingly entertaining as well. You can see Gratuity and J. Lo grow gradually closer to each other. The growth between the two is paced very well and in a realistic manner.
Something that added to the atmosphere of the story was the comics and pictures that were included. They were informative and had a great art design at the same time. There would mostly be comics about the history of Boov and Gorg. The comics added to my understanding of the two alien’s relationship and alien history. Kudos to Rex for coming up with that idea.
The True Meaning of Smekday is a wonderful science fiction story with its engrossing story, hilarious dialogue, and great character development. I would recommend this to anybody looking for a great read and a funny story. I rate this book 9.25 out of 10.