First Day on Earth
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First Day on Earth

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  544 ratings  ·  168 reviews
A startling, wonderful novel about the true meaning of being an alien in an equally alien world.

"We are specks. Pieces of dust in this universe. Big nothings.

"I know what I am."

Mal lives on the fringes of high school. Angry. Misunderstood. Yet loving the world -- or, at least, an idea of the world.

Then he meets Hooper. Who says he's from another planet. And may be going...more
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,617)
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Ben Loory
i met cecil castelluci at a party a couple months ago and talked to her a little bit... she has this amazing personality, sort of radiates strength and wisdom and mysterious good humor, and this book (the first of hers i've read) is the exact same way. there's a lot of space between the sentences, a lot of things that go unsaid, but from behind and between all the words and images you get an intensity of feeling which is really hard to come by; by the end of this book i was literally sobbing and...more
Despite not being super-di-duper fond of Every Day, I did make note of the two books that the main character was obsessed with, because… it seemed like a good idea at the time.

First Day on Earth was one of those books, and I can totally see why A from Every Day had read it 46873587 times, because Mal seems like his overly-dramatic soulmate.

The plot in and of itself sounds fairly awesome—Mal’s father abandons the family and his alcoholic mother almost dies on the floor of their living room and Ma...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
This review has had extra outrage added and can be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud!
The ARC that Scholastic sent me only weighed in at a measly 150 pages. I don’t know about you, but I trust skinny books like I trust skinny chefs (with special exceptions for Courtney Summers’ books and Anthony Bourdain). So when I flipped the book over in my hands and wondered where the rest of it actually was, I was a little wary.

And then I read it. Drawing on that whole skinny chef bit, I sort of ate my words.

First Day on Earth is about a guy named Mal who’s got the world’s biggest chip on hi...more
I picked this book up on a whim because I've been looking to get into more science fiction lately and this only had a vague hint of it. And what might that hint be? Aliens. Yes, who can resist that? Not me, of course. I wanted to see how the little green guys-or Mal's gray people-fit into the tale. It was a quick but surprisingly insightful read.

Mal is an interesting character. His dad left the family, his mother is an alcoholic, he has no friends, he was abducted by aliens. Basically, if anyone...more
I have mixed feelings about this one -- it wasn't quite what I was expecting. The dry, clipped tone made it hard to get emotionally invested in Mal, though his detachment makes sense charater-wise, and the sparse writing, while evocative, left everything feeling underdeveloped. But it's still a thoughtful, tender read about an outsider finding his place, and Mal's unique voice grew on me the longer I read. This would be an excellent parallel read with Boy21, another book about what it's like to...more
This weird little book requires its readers to be very open minded about truth and reality (which can be a big ask for young people if they're anything like I was when growing up - I've learned to be less judgemental as I've gotten older). We don't know whether Mel is fantasising about his alien contact experience, or if it is supposed to have been real, and we don't know whether Hooper is supposed to be believed by the reader or not. He smells different, has long fingers and is definitely very...more
Mal is not as he appears; when Hooper says, "Mal means bad." Mal replies, "In Latin or French or Spanish, but I'm not Spanish. And I am not bad.".
He scares people, but takes care of his mother, rescues animals and goes to group. Mom is a devastated mess after Dad sneaks out leaving his family abandoned and confused. They want an explanation, what they get are legal documents. This along with Mom's drunken reaction to it make Mal's life grim. He goes to school, endures derision, comes home, deal...more
This book is written in a very particular style which i wasn't used too. I felt like each sentence or paragraph had a philosophical meaning behind it, that i would love to quote. Also i did win this book on Goodreads.

This book is about a boy named Malcolm (aka. Mal) whose life is turned upside down when his father leaves his mother and him. Ever since that day his mother is a drunk who cant do anything for herself and Mal takes care of her and tries to go to school and lead a normal life. Mal co...more
Kelly Hager
Mal is not your average teenager. Yes, he has not-uncommon teenage problems (he doesn't really fit in; his parents are divorced) but there are also ones that most people don't have to deal with (his mom is an alcoholic and so he takes care of her instead of the other way around; his dad walked out and Mal hasn't seen him since) and the problem that is almost unheard of (Mal believes he was abducted by aliens). Not surprisingly, Mal keeps all these problems to himself, but especially that last on...more
"I've been to outer space and back again. I've been caged. I've been probed and spliced and diced and I am being tracked. They are going to take me again one day. I know it because I heard them say it in my brain. They are out there and they are watching us. And you just move like a sleepwalker from class to class whenever the bell rings.

I think you are sheep.

But one day, I'm going with them. And I'm going to be free."

Mal moves through his high school as an outsider, with few friends, and minima...more
May 28, 2011 Joy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This book really grabbed me. It is a thin volume that is spare and packed with meaning.

Mal is an angry teen with good reasons for the anger. His mom is a drunk who just tries to wash down life's disappointments (hubby that left) and Mal is left to pick up the pieces and hold it together.
Mal harbors a secret - he was abducted by aliens, poked, probed and dropped back in the desert. While at a meeting he meets Hooper - who later confides that he is an adventurous, explorer-alien.
In the midst of...more
As much as I harp on about not liking science fiction, I think I subconsciously love it. Seriously, I tore through First Day On Earth by Cecil Castellucci, which okay, reads more like a contemporary young adult book than hard science fiction. But you know what? For a reader like me that is perfect.
Read the rest of my review here
This is the perfect novel for teens who are looking for a book about not fitting in, but don’t want to read the typical teen angst book. I loved how Castellucci took an interesting approach this is familiar topic. I was connected to Mal and I wanted to know if he had really been abducted, who Hooper was, and what would happen with Mal’s future.

Read more of my review at
Was Mal really abducted by aliens? He believes he was and now he's met a guy who claims to be an alien that needs help getting home. I really enjoyed this story of a kid who lives a very sad and lonely life and all the ways he is trying to cope and make sense of it all. When he goes on a road trip to take his friend to the landing place, he realizes that there are times when we all have reasons to feel like aliens.
Karen Johnson
I'm between a 3 and a 4 on this one. Usually I wouldn't finish a 3, but I did this one so that's why the 4.

It was interesting and kept me wondering. At one point I was compelled even to Google the possible psychological condition that might explain how people believe they have been abducted by aliens. I do like that that Castellucci left the answers to the reader.

The best part of the book for me was Mal. He has such a good heart and yet his exterior says anything but. I also liked the portrayal...more
Jan 09, 2012 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: teen, ya
This YA book gives an excellent portrayal of the alienation and isolation many teens feel. Especially powerful when dealing with the absence of Mal's (the protagonist) father.
Aug 04, 2011 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011, ya
Her writing isn't anything crazy or stupendous but I love it's honestly and unflinching reality. Quick read but really dense and emotional.
Moving, hopeful, sad, thoughtful, and innovative, with lots of cross genre appeal.
Saleena Davidson
This is a very odd book......and not in a fun way......the main character is convinced that he was abducted by aliens and the reader is never completely sure whether he is delusional or if this is true. Even at the end, the question is left open, and I hate that.........I don't really believe that aliens come down to probe humans, but I DO expect a story that clearly defines what is true....the whole idea of a hanging ending doesn't work when we're talking about delusions vs. least...more
FIRST DAY ON EARTH is, at its base, an engaging glimpse into the life of a teen who believes he was abducted by aliens when he was younger. But it is so much more than that. At school, Mal’s the loner. At home, his mother’s too drunk to pay him any attention, and his dad – not in the picture. When Mal meets Hooper at a meeting for abductees, things begin to change. Especially when Hooper reveals there may be more to him than Mal could ever suspect.

Even though this book is centered on Mal it’s ha...more
Meh, this really gets 2.5 stars from me.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the book has a very solid message--about how some of us feel like 'aliens' in the world--in other words, outcasts who don't belong. I dig that message. On the other hand, the prose was very flat for me. This was a quick read not because the writing was so great, but because it's really more of a novella (a slim 150 pages) and because the chapters are SO short. Seriously, some chapters are one sentence long. Like this:

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
4.5 stars

First Day on Earth is very quick read, but it packs a lot of punch in its 150 pages. It’s also quite different than what I expected. It seems like it’d be an alien book, but it focusses so much more on humankind and our existence with one another. The main character Mal has pain etched all over him.

The simplicity of Castellucci’s writing and character dialogue evokes even more emotion because it’s real. Mal is an angry, bitter, broken kid with a great heart and Castellucci shows the rea...more
You know, I love a good book that can be sweet and charming without actually being written that way. Books that when you get right down to it are actually really dark and depressing yet still make you go "aww" and connect to the characters in such a way that gives you that fuzzy feeling inside. This is one of those books.

Mal is such a sad and depressing character. He's been hurt so many times and feels like a huge outsider. High school isn't an easy place for him and the fact that no one believe...more
Amy Jacobs
I am not a big fan of alien abductions and such, but I decided to give this book a chance since it was sent to me for review. I was actually surprised to find that it wasn't too bad of a book. While I am still not a fan of aliens, the author did a wonderful job in exploring this type of plot line.

Mal lives with his often drunk mother after his father walked out on them years ago. He tries to take care of his mother the best way he can, but he also has issues that he is dealing with and no one to...more
Akanksha Gogi
Let me just put this out there before I begin. This isn't a big book or anything but it's the first book that I've finished so quickly. Usually it takes me 2 weeks or maybe more since I'm distracted by whats going on with the rest of the world and I actually have a life to deal with, but this took me just a few days. It's also how easily I was able to go through the pages without having to think, what am I reading? Sometimes I do that because I'm not paying attention to the words and it all beco...more
Deborah Ross
I've long thought that one reason we love stories about aliens (or sentient nonhuman creatures) is that at one time or another, we've all felt like aliens ourselves. I know I have, and I'll bet that just about everyone who's survived adolescence has, too. (The "just about" is a hedge in case there are, somewhere in the world, people who just sailed through; I'm willing to allow for the possibility, even if I don't know any of them.)

Cecil Castellucci takes that experience and whirls it around in...more
Moonlight Gleam
After his father left them years ago, Mal's mother is broken, turning to alcohol each day and leaving Mal to face the world all on his own. At school he's an outsider, never able to fit in with the norm. With very few friends, and teachers who have given up on having him follow the rules, Mal wanders the hallways past the bell signaling the start of class and enters the classrooms whenever he feels he should.

Mal feels different from everyone else, as thought he's been touched by something unexpl...more
Natalia Ceitidh
More reviews at

Contrary to what I usually read, Cecil Castellucci's First Day on Earth was a very particular book to read and, at the same time, absolutely gratifying. With a quick narrative and only 160 pages, Castellucci manages to put a great amount of content that is illustrated in Mel, a teenage boy who, at the age of 12, was abducted by Aliens.

Mel struggles with many problems during this book. It is not only the fact that he was abducted, or so he thinks s...more
Nov 19, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
This is a very short novel so my review will probably be short as well. The novel is about teenager (originally reviewed on starmetal oak book blog)

Mal who has a pretty tragic life, living with his alcoholic mother after his dad left the family. This is very character driven, I find, and it's what makes this short book interesting. Not only does Mal have to deal with some pretty serious problems, he also is trying to cope with being abducted by aliens. He goes to group meetings for the contacte...more
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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books, most notably Boy Proof and The PLAIN Janes. Upcoming in 2014 is book one of her new sci duology TIN STAR.

She is also the author of The Year of the Beasts, First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool and Janes in Love. Her short stories can be found in various anthologies such as After, Teeth, Truth & Dare, Th...more
More about Cecil Castellucci...
The Plain Janes (Janes, #1) Boy Proof Janes in Love (Janes, #2) Beige Odd Duck

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