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The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

The True Meaning of Smekday (2007)

by Adam Rex

Series: Smek (1)

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If you enjoy Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams, this is a book for you. ( )
  brainchild138 | Jun 18, 2016 |
Fantastic satire.
Humorous adventure, too.
Slapstick, parody, and pretty sophisticated political commentary.
But at the same time, the thrills felt genuine, too.

Like a cross between [b:Gulliver's Travels|755011|Gulliver's Travels (Two Parts)|Jonathan Swift|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1290377878s/755011.jpg|2394716] and [a:Daniel Pinkwater|20575|Daniel Pinkwater|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1218645652p2/20575.jpg], with a bit of less one-sided War of the Worlds"* thrown in.

*inside joke - it'll mean more to you after you read the book.

Hard to believe this is a kid's book. Rex doesn't underestimate kids, and I appreciate that. I love this now and would have loved it age 11 (some kids can read it younger, but I was too naive).

For example, the worst cuss word is 'hell' because our narrator (the hero) doesn't like bad language, so she bleeps out one boy's potty mouth. And even 'hell' gets a 'pardon my language.' So that makes it ok for sheltered kids. Otoh, sheltered kids might not understand the comparison of flying flamingos to "sprinting drag queens." I certainly wouldn't have.

Love the parody of Disney World. For example, how can it be always clean, always perfect? Each attraction is doubled, base to base... after close, the assembly rotates, and a freshly repaired and cleaned version is sent above, while the workers have a whole day to refurbish the dirtied one.

Love the bit of the history of the Boov that we learn, including: "400 years ago. Art is replaced by entertainment. 350 years ago. Entertainment is replaced by Talking about Entertainment. 325 years ago. Talking now almost always occurs over vast distances -- on phones or by computer. Face-to-face communication is carried out mostly by T-shirt."

Love the way Rex sneaks in stuff to make smart kids feel proud they know something extra. It "looked like something Hercules ought to be wrestling on the side of a vase." Would most 10 yo readers get that? I doubt it. But those who do will get to snort "Ha!"

Love the way this is a 'boys' book' (in the sense that it'll appeal to boys who otherwise avoid reading, as well as to other readers) and yet the hero is a girl. Who is simply a strong brave clever girl, tyvm, not a spunky tomboy. And who has some pretty unflattering things to say about boys... things some of them might take as complimentary, though.... Oh, and she's black. (Her word; she's not enamored w/ African-American.) And her mom is Italian.

Love the way there's virtually no info-dumping, hardly any backstory. For example, I don't understand her mom at all. But that's ok. Eleven yo Gratuity is not a psychiatrist and so we can't be expected to learn complex insights from her voice. (I have noticed lots of MG books lately in which the child narrator is preternaturally wise and insightful, and it drives me nuts.)

Gosh I could go on. But I won't. Read it yourself. If you have any interest in adventure, satire, invasion SF, whatever, I fully expect you'll get a kick out of this. Don't think of it as a kids' book.

Btw, the ending felt a little awkward *to me.* I didn't fall into loving it right away. But now I almost want to go back and read it from the beginning all over again.

I see there's a sequel. I'm not sure I want to read it. This is brilliant, and ends satisfyingly." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
A really fun read for anyone 8 . Really enjoyed it. Just enough drama and action without being scary for younger readers enough humour for adult readers - it should make a great movie! ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
I love this book. I read it because it inspired the movie, Home, which I also love. Though this is a young adult book, it can be enjoyed by adults, as well. This book would be a great read aloud in an older classroom (grades 4-6). It should be recommended to students that enjoy science fiction novels. Teachers can use this book as an example of colonialism and how it is similar to the English colonization of America.
  kimhumphrey22 | Apr 13, 2016 |
Amazingly fun book. It's the story of a little girl named Gratuity (Tip) whose mother had been kidnapped by aliens, an alien named J.Lo who doesn't quite fit in with the others invading Earth, and a cat named Pig who (like all cats) adores the aliens because they smell like fish. There's a flying car. A theme park. A cross-country journey, a fake(?) space ship, cloning technology, and evil aliens who want to invade Earth a second time (and turn humans into slaves or furniture).

It is an amazing story. It starts as an essay Tip writes for school. But the essay is short and she is convinced to write more. When she does, she reveals a great and complex adventure. And, even when she's done with the essay, she writes more for her own piece of mind. And the result was just fantastic. I loved the drawings/illustrations and also the comic pages inside as well. It really made it feel like it really was written by a girl (and an alien).

I watched the movie, which had the same characters but no other similarities, unfortunately. Because the book was such an entertaining read. ( )
  katekintail | Apr 10, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786849002, Hardcover)

It all starts with a school essay.


When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens – called Boov – abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it “Smekland” (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?


In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuity’s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.


Fully illustrated with “photos,” drawings, newspaper clippings, and comics sequences, this is a hilarious, perceptive, genre-bending novel by a remarkable new talent.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:41 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When her mother is abducted by aliens on Christmas Eve (or "Smekday" Eve since the Boov invasion), 11 year-old Tip hops in the family car and heads south to find her and meets an alien Boov mechanic who agrees to help her and save the planet from disaster.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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