Twelve-year-old Aidan’s life at his family’s motel gets a whole lot more interesting when aliens arrive.
Living in a quirky space-themed motel only a few miles from Cape Canaveral might be a dream come true. But the reality for Aidan includes skimming leaves, picking up trash and managing difficult guests. Despite this, his life is far from bleak. He hangs out with his best friend, Louis, helps throw epic launch parties, and meets new and interesting people. Among the latter is Dru, a strange but compelling new guest. Aidan is skeptical about the existence of extraterrestrials, but the arrival of a spaceship and the revelation that Dru is actually an alien turns him into a true believer. Dru needs Aidan and Louis to help her complete a rescue mission. But there might be more to Dru’s story than she is letting on. The interesting motel setting is unfortunately populated by lackluster characters. And while the second half of the book holds surprises for persevering readers, they are not enough to make up for the surprising overall lack of energy. Arnold’s grayscale cartoons flesh out the narrative.
A close encounter that fails to engage. (Science fiction. 8-12)