One of the best things about unreliable narrators is that very often they’re hilariously wrong about everything. But readers may be a little sad when Daniel’s conspiracy theories turn out not to be true.
Daniel believes he’s an alien. He has his reasons. He’s at least a foot taller than everyone in his family. There isn’t a single photo of him as a baby. And, most important, he’s the only person in the neighborhood who likes chocolate milkshakes with bacon bits. So he wants to find his home planet and go back. This might have made a good premise for a science-fiction novel, complete with a government coverup and maybe even some Men in Black. But anyone who’s read a middle-grade novel will know that there’s usually a mundane explanation for everything, often accompanied by a tidy message about the value of family and friends. Still, the big climax, featuring alien-loving cultists, is at least sporadically funny, and Daniel’s observations about his family are genuinely entertaining: “When Mom lost her wedding ring, she located it using a metal detector. It was in the body of my baby brother, Timmy.”
Unfortunately, this book doesn’t let Daniel fulfill the promise of the unreliable comedic narrator; most of the time, he’s just plain wrong about everything. (Fiction. 9-12)