Hello all! I’m back at it again after a slight break from blogging… *sweats nervously and dodges rotten tomatoes*
Anyway, today we have an amazing guest review from the fabulous Violet Tiger at Reading Violet GO CHECK OUT HER BLOG! It’s fantabulous. *exits stage*
Hello, everybody! Today I’m delighted to be reviewing See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng on Kitty Cat at the Library.
Title: See You in the Cosmos
Author: Jack Cheng
Age group: 10 – 14 years
Page count: 320 pages
Publication date: February 28th, 2017
Summary from Amazon:
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.
See You in the Cosmos is about Alex, who is eleven years old but “thirteen in responsibility years”. He is determined to launch his iPod into space with recordings on it, addressed to aliens. I think that the plot is charming. I’ve read similar stories where the protagonist communicates with someone through letters, email and more, but this is the first story I’ve read where I read the transcripts of recordings. I think that is a very innovative and creative way to tell the story. It was really interesting to read it. We hear background noise, the characters talking and laughing, and Alex explaining to “aliens” who might not understand a joke. Sometimes, Alex rambles on and on. This added a realistic touch to the story, but sometimes my mind drifted off and I got confused. I think the recordings showed things through different perspectives and took “show not tell” to a whole different level. The author can only describe what goes on, and Alex can give us some narration. I enjoyed the space jokes that Alex told.
I did not like the characters very much. The protagonist, Alex, although he was a relatable character, did not live up to being “thirteen in responsibility years”. He seemed immature and childish at times. He may be polite, but his lack of understanding of the world portrayed him as unintelligent. The decisions he made also impacted how I saw him. He seemed too happy, like a young child would be. He refuses to accept the challenges that are happening. The other characters did not seem to care much about Alex. They seemed very self-absorbed and too concerned with their own world. The characters did not feel realistic at all, and I could not relate to their personalities.
Lots of the things that happen in this book seem ludicrous. Alex making his way to Las Vegas and his family being “okay” with it? The family issues in this book were bothersome. Alex deceived his family so he could visit Nevada and L.A.
I’m also pretty confused about the plot. What is the point of the story? It starts off with Alex trying to send his iPod to space, but then somehow shifts to learning about his dad, then finding his dog, more about his family, and then I get lost.
I was disappointed with this book. I think that although others may learn a lot from See You in the Cosmos, it’s not my favorite. With a flat protagonist and no plot to fall back on, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I thought I would.
Following Sue Kooky’s star rating, I’d give it a 2 out of 5 stars.
Jack Cheng was born in Shanghai and grew up in Michigan. After spending nearly a decade in New York, working in advertising and tech, he now lives in Detroit. See You in the Cosmos is his first novel for young readers.
Taken from the back of book. Click here to go to his website.
Thanks, everybody, for joining me this week!