Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
Walden Pond Press (February 26, 2013) 432 pages
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I found The Fellowship for Alien Detection to be an enjoyable read! In all of my reading through the years I can't remember one of them being about aliens. (Surely, I'm forgetting at least one, though). For that reason, this one was a refreshing change of pace for me. It had the "weird" quality going on for it, as you would expect in a book about aliens.
Haley is disappointed that she won't be attending Thorny Mountain Music Camp or The Daily Times Junior Correspondent Fellowship during her summer break. She did get into the Fellowship for Alien Detection program, though, which means she gets an all expenses paid, 2 week road trip with her family in order to do some alien research.
Dodger has also been accepted into the Fellowship, so he's going on his alien research trip with his dad. They don't have the best of relationships, and his dad is constantly looking at him oddly. Worse, Dodger keeps picking up radio signals from a town called Juliette, which isn't even on a map. These signals give him headaches and nose bleeds. No wonder he's getting those looks, huh?!
When Dodger and Haley start making connections between missing people and missing spaces of time, they come together to make an even bigger discovery involving aliens.
Despite the fact that I really did enjoyed this book, I have quite a few issues that will keep me from fully recommending it to some of you. My first issue came along pretty quickly. The characters are children and they call their parents by their first names. At 31, I'm not *that* old, but I grew up in a time where that was just plain disrespectful. I don't/won't allow my children to call me by my first name(at least to my face) at any point either. I almost think that this approach *might* have been an attempt to keep things less confusing. Sadly, I found it more confusing. I would have preferred to have saw "Dodger's dad" repeatedly as opposed to his name, Harry. I had to flip back and re-read at times to make sure it was referring to a set of parents, as opposed to a new character.
Another big issue was the word of profanity used. It was only one word. In a children's book, I find profanity at any level intolerable. I know! Some of you may be rolling your eyes. ;) I simply expect when picking up a children's book or handing it over to a child, that we will get the chance to escape into a clean world without worrying about "bad" words. We hear enough of that out in the real world. Fiction reading is a creative escape/journey from the real world. Expecting a clean read is a *huge* reason I enjoy middle grade books so much. Adult books are packed so full of content I don't like, and I hate to see children's books becoming more and more of the same. (*Bas**** was the word used. Not in the "child without a father way", but in the "I don't like you, so I'm going to call you a bad name" kind of way.)
The book is divided into 3 sections. The first part is around 200 pages, and it's about Haley. I was flipping the pages at rapid speed totally into the story, and then part 2 happens. It's almost like a completely new story happens as we now learn about Dodger. (Part 3 is combined efforts at the aliens). When part 2 came along, I was so disappointed that I was thrown into another story that my interest level in the book plummeted a great deal. I still enjoyed it, but it took me awhile to get back into the story and a much harder time picking it back up to read. I'm not against long books! I started feeling its length as my reading progressed with this one, though, and I think it would have benefited from a shorter length.
For me to have enjoyed this book, I sure have did a great deal of complaining, huh?!
Once again, though, I did appreciate the uniqueness of this book, and it's made me want to look into finding more "alien" books, especially when I need a change of reading pace. Also, I greatly appreciated that the parents are involved! They are good parents, and the fact that each set of parents went on a 2 week road trip in order for their children to do alien research shows their love for Dodger and Haley.
The Fellowship for Alien Detection is a book I do recommend (for those of you who think you might enjoy a middle grade alien book), but only with warnings!
*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.