Saturday, October 22, 2011

First Day on Earth

Before Mockingjay came out, I emailed Scholastic to ask them to send me a copy of it to review for my blog. They did, and I'm now on their list, which is fabulous! They just sent me First Day on Earth, by Cecil Castellucci, whose name is so familiar to me though I don't think I've read any of her other books. She co-edited the anthology Geektastic, which I loved, but I don't think that's why her name is dinging in my brain. My guess is that I read a story she wrote in a magazine ages ago, and her name is memorable. Somehow I feel like I read one of her stories in Sassy or Seventeen back in the day.

Anyway. I liked this book a lot, and I already told a student about it and am going to loan it to him on Monday now that I've finished it. This student went off in class last week about having been homeless and how hard it is and how people don't understand. All of which is true, I'm sure, but the class looked at him, confused, because what he was saying was very tangentially related to our discussion, about "The Kicking Queen," an article from the New York Times about the only girl on her school's football team elected homecoming queen. Somehow what he said started off being related to the conversation (which was awesome, by the way, with some football player boys chiming in about how cool it was, and some other school athletes noting that usually really athletic girls don't get elected homecoming queen... it was a good conversation) but then it wasn't related, and I know I wasn't the only one who realized he just had to say what he had to say.

So I think he might like this book. Others will like it too, but I thought of him first.

The main character, Malcolm, narrates the story, and in the first brief chapter, we learn that he has "been to outer space and back again." The first chapter ends, " day, I'm going with them. And I'm going to be free."

We meet his drunk mom, hear about his father who left, go to an Al-Anon meeting with Malcolm--and then he walks into the wrong room, goes to the wrong meeting: it's a group for people who have been abducted by aliens.

This is a short book that covers a lot of territory. No pun intended, really. Anyway, I liked it. I'll be glad to add it to my classroom library, and I'll read more by her, for sure.

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