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MY COUSIN, THE ALIEN by Pamela F. Service


by Pamela F. Service & illustrated by Mike Gorman

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8225-7627-3
Publisher: Carolrhoda

Fledgling chapter-book readers turned off by the grosser parts of the Andrew Lost tales may enjoy the more conventional escapades in this kickoff. Readers meet Ethan, a flaxen-haired lad with a mysterious amulet and a lifelong conviction that he’s an alien Prince in hiding, and Zack, his cousin and protector, who narrates. Here, Zack’s natural skepticism of Ethan’s claims dissolves in the face of encounters with Bill and Clyde, strange adult twins who turn out to be real, murderous aliens with otherworldly weapons. Service takes some time getting to the action, but she does at last put her young folk into escalating danger that culminates in a violent climax and also tucks in more than one red herring to set up multiple twists at the end. Family ties and Zack’s unusually well-developed sense of responsibility for his troubled cuz form strong thematic elements in this outing, the first of a projected four. Gorman’s frequent black-and-white cartoon scenes of popeyed preteens in various hazardous situations add notes of comical suspense. (Science fiction. 9-11)