Thursday, February 24, 2011

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex: Audiobook Review

 From Goodreads:  
Twelve-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci is assigned to write five pages on "The True Meaning of Smekday" for the National Time Capsule contest, and 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 to Earth, and aliens—called the 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?

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 Earth from yet another alien invasion.

The humor in this book is unreal.  I could not stop laughing the entire time.  Much of that had to do with the masterful audio narration of Bahni Turpin. There are some narrators that make the audiobook even more entertaining than just reading the book itself and Bahni Turnpin is one such narrator. Her voice of the alien Boov J. Lo was not only entertaining, but downright hilarious. She made him so amusing and endearing that you can't help but think to yourself, "I wish I had my own J. Lo. to travel around with."

And let's not forget about Adam Rex here.  There has to be a bit of madness for someone to have such a crazy sense of humor.  I mean, where does one come up with an idea to create an alien and name him J. Lo?  Or have a mother so crazy that she names her daughter Gratuity?

And the dialogue.  Oh where do I begin with the hilarity of the dialogue?  I was listening to this on my iPod and when I came to this particular exchange in the story, I literally spit out my iced tea I was laughing so hard.  Here Gratuity's mom was talking to her about J.Lo's behavior when J. Lo interjects:

"He doesn't take care of you, I do. If anything, I take care of him too. This morning I had to stop him drinking the water out of a car battery." 
"Is good that way. Tangy!"  

 Pair this exchange with Bahni Turpin's pitch-perfect narration and my iced tea never had a chance of making it to my esophagus.

Adam Rex, I hope you write more middle grade novels because if you do, I will be the first in line to read them.  I know most of the books you've done have been as an illustrator and not a writer, but please, I beg of you, bring that crazy sense of humor to more of your own stories.  As it is, I will be talking up this one like crazy in my classroom.  I may even play them snippets of the audiobook just to get them more intrigued. 

Now I'm off to the library to check out more of Rex's books and find more audiobooks narrated by Bahni Turpin...

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Audiobook narrator: Bahni Turpin
Published: October 2007
Publisher: Hyperion
Audiobook published:  April 2010 by Listening Library
Pages: 423
Audiobook length: 10 hours, 38 minutes
Genre: Science fiction
Audience: Middle grade
Disclosure: Library Copy


  1. I finished this audiobook last week and agree with you in every way - I can't imagine anyone with even a little bit of a sense of humor who would not thoroughly enjoy listening to this story, It was a definite winner!

  2. This is next in my ears. Note that this book recently won the American Library Association's Odyssey Award, for the best audiobook for children and teens (

  3. I so need this one for my kids. All too often I'm listening to a book that's not appropriate for little ears!