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The True Meaning of Smekday

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  4,626 ratings  ·  1,109 reviews
It all starts with a school essay.

When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre sp
Hardcover, 423 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Disney-Hyperion
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Before reading Adam Rex’s delicious banquet of pop culture skewers dipped in saucy social commentary and served alongside a heaping helping of warm, filling comfort food, the phrase "I love J.LO" had NEVER been part of my working vocabulary. Well folks…*burp*…I love J.LO. Now, I’m not referring to "Ms. Diva from the Block junky trunk", but rather the sweetest, charmingest, most Booviful Boov ever to invade Earth in search of oranges and urinal cakes:
Smekday is definitely a feel gooder with sma
If someone had told me that there’s a book about an alien invasion, featuring a girl on the run from the internment of humans in camps while she searches for her abducted mother, and it’s funny, and it’s for kids, I think that I would have called shenanigans. But, that’s exactly what this book is. Thank goodness I had no idea what this was about before I started, or I may not have given it a chance. Now that I’ve read it, I just want to push it off on everyone I know.

Gratuity “Tip” Tucci is only
Pretty much my favorite children's book of the past few years, and one of my favorite books overall. It has such a sense of gamboling fun, even with the aliens are busy herding up humanity and shunting them off to states that they themselves don't particularly like.

J-Lo, the alien character is charming, and I wish he could be my own friend. Rex put a lot of emotion into that lovable squat fireplug, and my only "J-Lo" related dismay is that while readers of this book might know that J-Lo named h
Aug 13, 2011 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My nieces
Recommended to Terence by: Ceridwen's GR review
The critics have spoken:

"This is the bestest book in the whole widest world!!!" - Felix, The Other New York Review of Books

"Two thumbs up! Way up or this one!" - Roger Fleabert & Gene Whiskel, At the Libraries

I leave it to the reader of this review to go and find out why the cat world raves about this book, and I'll leave it to Steve's and Ceridwen's reviews to clinch the intention to read this funny, touching and intelligent book.

For my part, I'm going to send this off to my nieces ASAP as
If I had to describe this book in a word, I'd call it a romp. It's fun, it's funny, it's a fast-paced adventure. And it's very clever. Too clever, in fact; one gets the impression that the author is very impressed with himself, and cracks himself up with how witty and clever he can be.

Somewhere on GoodReads, I saw a description of a book (don't recall which one) as "it's like a friend's little brother--he's really funny and entertaining for a little while, and then you want him to go away." Tha
I got this book at one of my favorite bookstores of all time: A small, charming little shop in Redlands, CA called The Frugal Frigate. I don't live there anymore, but back in 2008 my mom and I were in town and I stopped by the store for old time's sake.

The store had since been bought out by an older couple, but they had maintained its comfortable, cozy charm. Nothing had changed since I'd last visited, and that meant more to me than anything in the world. I'd be heartbroken if anything was diffe
This is one of the funniest, constantly entertaining books I've read in a long time, kids book or otherwise. The narrator is a brilliantly sarcastic young girl, the alien J-Lo is a riot, and the premise never gets tired. I kept waiting for some sappy "kids book" ending to mar the climax, but it never got bad. I'm going to buy a copy to own, just so I can re-read it to Mulzer again.
"The Boov jumped off his antler spool and went back inside the MoPo...."

I think I'm going to memorize this line. And next time someone asks me a question I don't want to answer, I'm gonna hit 'em with the Boov.

Smekday is funny, silly, and entertaining. Gratuity/Tip is a terrific heroine, spunky and anxious and bold. But my favorite character was J.Lo. Who knew Boov could be so big-hearted? (Plus, who knew urinal cakes were apparently so delicious?)

Although it's a bit long for a read-aloud, I ca
Colleen Venable
It took me a bit to get into this one, but perhaps that was because I picked it up 100% convinced it was going to be my new favorite book in the world before I read a single character. As soon as J.Lo appeared I was HOOKED. His Balki-an charm, urinal cake eating habits, and hysterical integrated "The History of the Boov" mini-comics won me over in no time. I've been a fan of Rex's picture books for years with a lovely collection of signed books on my shelf, each one received while I was red-face ...more
In the wreckage of America post alien invasion, an eleven-year-old girl sets off on an epic road trip with one of the invaders and a cat.

OMG. OMG OMG my feels, I can't. This is hilarious and sad and wonderful and quirky. I giggled, I sniffled, I gasped. I got my feels everywhere, which doesn't happen for just any old book.

Basically, if you are a sucker for very brave, very angry little girls; if two people tentatively reaching out from opposite sides of a war and a language barrier and a lot of
"Most everyone thinks of Smekday as the day the Boov arrived, and as the day they left, one year later. But the longer they've been gone, the less I care about that. The Boov weren't anything special. They were just people. They were too smart and too stupid to be anything else."

This is the best, funniest allegory for Manifest Destiny, colonialism, and privilege that you will ever, ever read. Yes, there are cartoons. Yes, there is an entire page that is only the word "meow" repeated. Yes, the a
Eva Mitnick
This book is actually a very very long essay written by Middle School student Gratuity Tucci for a contest, the winning essay of which will be placed in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years - in 2113. In it, Gratuity (Tip to her friends) describes the invasion of the Boov and the subsequent relocation of all humans to Florida (and then to Arizona, as the Boov decide they want Florida for themselves). Tip's mother was taken by the aliens early on, and so 12-year-old Tip takes her cat and driv ...more
Rachel Brown
A marvelous and very funny science fiction comedy in which eleven-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci tells the story of how Earth was colonized by aliens, and she ended up traveling cross-country in search of her mother in a flying car called Slushious, in the company of a conflicted alien named J. Lo.

This book has all sorts of elements which I normally hate, from cutesy pop culture references to heavy-handed messages ("colonialism is bad") to mocking Disneyland (easy target). Amazingly, I loved it a
I am for reals on an audiobook roll. The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex narrated by Bahni Turpin is one of the most hilarious, heartfelt, and engaging audiobooks that I’ve had the pleasure to listen to. Seriously, if you aren’t sure about audiobooks, introduce your ears to The True Meaning Of Smekday.

Read the rest of my review here
Sean Llewellyn Williams
Brilliantly hilarious, moving, clever, exciting, witty, surprising . . . I've run out of adjectives! A superb book. Read it immediately, if you haven't already.

(It has teleporters in it too, as an added bonus.)
Fun and tasty! Like eating popcorn, and now and then crunching on something hard, not cracking-teeth hard, but stop-and-make-you-think-hard.
This is my favorite road-trip-with-aliens adventure (and I've read a few). If you were about to pick up Going Bovine, put that honker down (gently, it's heavy) and read this instead. This also gets an A+ for consistent and amusing fictional dialect, a winner for language buffs and fans of The Phantom Tollbooth. And congrats to you for the Iowa Children's Ch
I love this book!

Here's the deal: the Boov invade earth. The tell humans that they all have to move to certain parts of Earth so that the Boov can have the rest (Americans get to move to Florida) and they sign treaties to show they're serious about their promises. Only they end up liking Florida, so all the Americans have to move to Arizona. The Boov reckon humans can have that forever. Maybe.

(A children's book with an allegory for the colonization of Native lands? Be still my heart!)

Amid all t
Timothy Reeves
I truthfully loved this book! It only took me two days to read this novel. I could not put it down. I would recommend this book for readers age ten through fifteen. The genre of this book is science fiction, but is unlike other novels that have futuristic machines and laser guns. Adam Rex illustrates and writes this book amazingly. He included comics and pictures that really gave the books a new perspective and depth. The only disappointment with “Smekday” was the story line was hard to follow. ...more
This is a delightful book—one that manages to not only be engaging and funny, but also smart! How many young adult books are there that are really biting, clever satires on the colonisation of foreign cultures, race and ethnicity which aren't Books With a Moral? (Same goes for adult books, I suppose.) Set in 2013, it follows eleven-year-old Gratuity Tucci, her cat Pig and a renegade alien called J.Lo who set off across America in an attempt to save the world from the alien Boov, and from another ...more
As a reader, there's a certain type of book I dream about: one that somehow manages to be smart and funny and meaningful. Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday is—wonder of wonders!—just such a book. Don't feel bad if you've never heard of it, however, because it also happens to be a kids' book. But it's one that can be appreciated just as easily by adults, who are just as likely to enjoy the novel's fantastic narrative voice and sharp sense of humor, and may get even more out of Smekday's cent ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
Gratuity "Tip" Tucci has been assigned to write an essay called, "The True Meaning of Smekday," with the winning essay to be placed in a time capsule. What is Smekday? That is the day the aliens called Boovs arrived and renamed Christmas after their leader, Smek. That was also the night Tip's mother was abducted by the Boov.

Tip writes about how, 6 months after the first Smekday, all humans were asked to relocate to Florida. Being 11 years old and alone (except for her cat Pig), Tip decides to d
This is my favorite book of all time. It's funny, it has a good plot, amusing pictures that support the story, and most importantly, a full two pages of nothing but 'meow!' I actually read this book twice, once in 6th grade and the other in 7th, but both times I've enjoyed it thoroughly. It's really one of those quirky little books that makes so little sense it does (meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow), but what I mean by that, is ...more
The True Meaning of Smekday is my all-time favorite book. The plot is vividly detailed with "pictures," comics, news articles, and drawings. Despite the childish format, it is appealing to all ages because of the story. Gratuity Tucci is a small girl who lived through the two alien invasions with the help of her mother, UFOlogists, and a runaway alien named J.lo. When her mom is abducted on Christmas Eve, Gratuity is devastated. Later the aliens, called the Boov, make themselves known. They clai ...more
Amy Bailey
I haven't had this much fun reading a book in a long time. It's infused with charm and humor with quite a bit of intelligence thrown in. J.Lo and Gratuity were an amazing pair, and I loved them both. I loved watching their friendship blossom, and I loved seeing Gratuity mature as a person through her experiences during the alien invasion...err... invasions. Even the peripheral characters in this novel were enjoyable and well-crafted. Though this book was primarily humorous, there was a lot that ...more
Well, that was pretty cute. I listened to it primarily on audio, but made sure to check out Adam Rex's illustrations in the hard copy as I went along. I've also begun to narrate my daily life in the manner of JLo's voice.

This is pretty great and would be fun for both children and adults to read or listen to together. It's wonderfully goofy and the adults will likely appreciate the satire and allegory of the plot and characters. I had to raise my eyebrow (metaphorically speaking...I can't actuall
When I think about this book, I keep coming back to the word "originality." It's hard to define. It's difficult to put this book in a box. It stars a twelve-year-old, but the humor is way above elementary level. It's an episodic road trip book about an alien invasion and the nature of family. There is satire and there is slapstick.

There is so much going on in this book. I love that Adam Rex made the whole package. The illustrations, the text, even the dang cover.

I love the theme of chosen fami
This book was such an adventure! I'll admit that at first, I wasn't too hooked by the idea of an alien invasion but as pages flew, Tip was able to convince me that her story about the Boovs' invasion over Earth-turned-Smekland was something I didn't want to miss out on. Packed with photos, sketches, and comic trips and told in a non-conventional way, it was a journey full of not only LOLs but of insights, too. It made me think about the human race - how small we could possibly be in this vast un ...more
Peep (Pop! Pop!)
Loved, loved, loved the audiobook! I encourage families out there to get this and listen to it with their kids. To be honest, I didn't even share it with my kids. I kept it all to myself. Rarely do you find an audiobook that you want to listen to from the beginning as soon as you're done.... I did with this one! They have bad guys who convey badness without the author beating it over your head. That's why I think that it's good for the family.

I loved J.Lo! I wanted to hug him ever since he asked
Kelli Ryne
What a fantastic book! Recommended by my aunt, a retired fourth grade teacher, I can see why she raved about it. Through the lens of humor and science fiction, students can see what the nature of being "discovered" and "conquered" entails, the dehumanizing process it takes, and the resistance that can grow from it. This book can be used to discuss the Trail of Tears, as the humans, who have been conquered by the Boov (pronounced Bo-o-ov) are forced to relocate to their own land of Florida, since ...more
Sarah Rosenberger
Gratuity Tucci was just your average 12-year-old girl when the Boov invaded Earth, kidnapped her flaky mother, and ordered all remaining Americans to move to Florida where they would be allowed to continue living in a "Human Preserve." Most kids would be disheartened by this turn of events, but Tip (as her friends call her) just straps some fruit cans to her shoes, grabs her cat, takes a car, and heads south. On her way to Florida, she meets up with an on-the-run Boov named J.Lo, and the two of ...more
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Movie Adaptation? 3 16 Mar 21, 2014 11:52AM  
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Adam Rex grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, the middle of three children. He was neither the smart one (older brother) or the cute one (younger sister), but he was the one who could draw. He took a lot of art classes as a kid, trying to learn to draw better, and started painting when he was 11. And later in life he was drawn down to Tucson in order to hone his skills, get a BFA from the University of Ar ...more
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“Woah,' I said, blocking the doorway. 'You can't come in here. This is the girls' room.'
Even as it came out of my mouth, I knew it sounded dumb. Dumb, I thought and maybe even wrong.
You...are a boy, aren't you?' I asked. 'I mean, don't take that the wrong way or anything -'
J.Lo is a boy, yes.' I let that go. Boov have boys and girls...just like us?'
Of course,' said J.Lo. 'Do not be ridicumlous.'
I smiled a wan little smile. 'Sorry.'
The Boov have seven magnificent genders. There is boy, girl, girlboy, boygirl, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy.'
I had absolutely no response to this.”
“Is there a short-eared koobish, then?'
Mmmyes ...' said J.Lo. 'But it is technically not really a koobish. Is more alike a kind of singing pumpkin.'
We had conversations like these all the time, where I just eventually gave up.”
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