Title: See You in the Cosmos
Author: Jack Cheng
Publisher: Puffin, PRH Children’s
Publication date: 2 March 2017
Genre: Middle Grade
Alex Petroski is eleven years old (but ‘at least thirteen in responsibility years’) and obsessed with space. He loves rockets, Carl Sagan (both the man himself and the dog named after him) and the idea of making contact with intelligent life on other planets. So much so that he records sounds from Earth and logs his major life events on a golden iPod and makes a plan to send it into space.
But life on Earth isn’t easy for Alex. Through his recordings we learn how he cares for his Mom on her ‘quiet days’ and that his big brother has moved far away. He’s a small boy facing some very big questions (Who am I? Where did I come from?) and his story reveals how a complicated home life and difficult family dynamics are seen through the eyes of a child. Most notable of all, perhaps, is his insistence that he always, above all, wants to know the truth, even if it means having to be very, very brave.
I found the beginning of the book quite slow and wasn’t enthralled by the storyline initially. However, the pace soon picked up and whenever the plot didn’t keep me coming back for more, the voice definitely did. The dialogue reads very naturally and Alex is a loveable, funny and intelligent voice to read. Wise beyond his years, it was a delight seeing the universe from his perspective.
It is fantastic to see a middle-grade debut boldly combining science, family life and mental health in one very readable story. Perfect for space-loving kids age 10+!
I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.