A foster boy learns that home is always closer than he thinks.
Ever since his increasingly senile granddad was taken away to “get sorted out,” Prez Mellows has been living in Children’s Temporary Accommodation. This summer, however, he’s staying with the loving and rambunctious Blythe family on their farm. The structure and daily chores give Prez’s life a sense of normalcy, but the arrival of a cigar-smoking, gravity-surfing extraterrestrial named Sputnik destabilizes Prez’s new routine. According to Sputnik, everyone in the universe has a mission, and Sputnik’s is to save Prez by saving Earth from Planetary Clearance. To do this, they must find 10 things that make Earth worth saving. Part of the book’s hilarity lies in the fact that Sputnik appears as a dog to everyone except Prez, who sees a funny-looking kid in a kilt and aviator goggles. Fortunately, Sputnik can read Prez’s mind, thus saving the boy from looking like he’s holding lengthy conversations with a dog. From a destructive lightsaber incident at a 5-year-old’s birthday party through a speed-of-light joy ride on a digger to Hadrian’s Wall to a major jailbreak fail, belly laughs are central to the action. The overall themes of home, family, and one’s place in the universe are reflected in moments of quiet sweetness. The narrative assumes a white default.
A raucous adventure with a heart of gold. (Fantasy. 8-13)