Friday, March 1, 2013

The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson

Where is Juliette, Arizona? According to current maps, there is no such place. It doesn't exist. In fact, most people never even knew it once existed. But there are many missing things across America that can't currently be explained: missing people, missing time, and yes, a missing town.

Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids from completely different backgrounds, given the opportunity to try to figure out this strange missing time phenomenon that seems to be running rampant across the country. Both kids have their own theories and ways to try to solve the problem and were awarded a fellowship by a mysterious yet seemingly legit organization to do just that.

As Haley and Dodger join forces, they realize they must work quickly because what initially seemed to be rather banal, innocuous research on separate road trips with their parents has suddenly turned dangerous.  As Haley and Dodger get closer and closer to figuring out how and why Juliette disappeared, their lives fall further and further into peril. Will they figure out the mystery of the missing people, time, and town before it's too late?

The Fellowship for Alien Detection was a suspenseful, heart-pumping, read. As someone who generally shies away from science fiction, I wasn't expecting it to be as page-turning as it was, but Kevin Emerson did an amazing job creating an action-packed plot with likeable characters. As with any novel that has some sort of road trip element, the characters MUST be likeable, otherwise why would you torture yourself by going on a 200+ page journey with them? Speaking of science fiction and road trips, if you enjoyed The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, this book might be a good read-alike for you, though Fellowship has more suspense than humor, which is what carries the plot of Smekday, they're both still good reading ladders for each other.

In reading a little bit about Kevin on his bio page, it says that he used to be an elementary science teacher and it definitely shows in this book. But as someone who generally dislikes science, that was the only part of the book that turned me off a little: because even though this book is for middle grade kids, I just couldn't wrap my brain around all the "sciencey" stuff. It's why I teach English really: because I can't wrap my brain around math and science. So that's why, when you have a science fiction novel and I start complaining about the sciencey stuff, I have things like great characters and plot pacing to fall back on when I don't want to know about the sciencey stuff. Have I been articulate and precise enough in my word choice for you in this paragraph? :)

The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
Published: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 432
Genre: Science Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: ARC received from publisher

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