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Review: First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci

>>Saturday, November 19, 2011

Title: First Day on Earth
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 160
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publication Date: November 1st, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rating: B

From Goodreads: 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.

Why did I read this book? I was contacted by a fellow Montreal Book Blogger about whether I wanted to participate in a breakfast with the author, Castellucci (she's lived in Montreal I believe) and was super excited about it. I had seen good reviews of her novels but had yet to read any, and now was my chance!

Source: Review copy provided by publisher

My Review
This is a very short novel so my review will probably be short as well. The novel is about teenager Mal who has a pretty tragic life, living with his alcoholic mother after his dad left the family. This is very character driven, I find, and it's what makes this short book interesting. Not only does Mal have to deal with some pretty serious problems, he also is trying to cope with being abducted by aliens. He goes to group meetings for the contacted and meets another called Hooper, whom he becomes friends with. I really liked Mal as a character and I felt that what drove his story was the sympathy we had for him and wanting things to be okay for him. Despite growing up in harsh circumstances, he's a really great person. He looks after those that need it and never once does he complain about his life. He has a sort of matter of fact way of looking at things.

One of the heart-wrenching things is that he wishes he could go back into space with the aliens (and who can blame him?). The ending is compelling, since you never really get a clear answer on anything and it leaves you pondering.

Rating: B
I thought this was a very valuable read. It's short but packed with emotion and the characters are detailed and life-like. I really liked Mal and his journey to come to terms with his life and his feelings, and that's what this is about. It's a story about people and what they go through. We are abducted into his life for a brief time but we come out just as effected as he is after his contact with outer beings. I recommend this for anyone looking for a meaningful, character driven story. I think young adults particularly will find this valuable since it deals with so many real issues that they go through.

1 comment:

  1. I was really worried I just wasn't smart enough for the ending, but I feel better when you say it wasn't all that clear. ;) See you tomorrow!



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