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First Day on Earth

3.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  664 Ratings  ·  185 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 goin ...more
ebook, 160 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
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(showing 1-30 of 2,025)
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Ben Loory
Aug 29, 2011 Ben Loory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jubilation Lee
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
Richard Derus
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
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
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
Jul 25, 2015 ananka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mal has a lot going on in his life. He's angry that his father left his mother and that she can't deal with it. She drinks and makes him feel guilty about thinking about a future where he's not taking care of her. Is his feeling that he was abducted by aliens real, or something to help explain his feeling hollow and helpless?

This is a very fast read. It reminds me a lot of Boy 21 at times. I liked the writing and all the characters, and at times the story felt very real. Recommend to reluctant r
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
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
Kelly Hager
Apr 02, 2012 Kelly Hager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 17, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
May 28, 2011 Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Santiago Magallanes
Santiago Magallanes
First Day On Earth Book Review

My book review is about an angry, frustrated, and lonely teenage boy named mal. When Mal was a child his father left him and his mother, he has no siblings. Mal’s mother was torn apart after her husband left, she became and alcoholic and can barely take care of herself and much less for Mal and to top it off Mal believes that he was abducted by aliens and he believes they will come back for him one day he wants them to take him back and take
At least, maybe it's science fiction. It depends on whether one scene near the end of the book really happened, or if it was inside the head of the main character.
That said, it's a wonderful book about alienation and isolation. The main character is absolutely convinced that he was abducted by aliens when he was twelve. He is now sixteen, living with an alcoholic mother who was abandoned by a seemingly uncaring husband. She never pulled herself out of the depression which either triggered or was
Kat O'B
Oct 05, 2014 Kat O'B rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi
Jennifer's review, linked below, starts by calling this a "weird, little book," and I'd have to agree. Unlike Jennifer, I liked main character, Mal, right from the beginning. I like the authenticity of his voice. Also, Castellucci does a good job of forcing the reader to feel Mal's isolation by severely limiting his dialog with others. I felt like I was living in his head along with him, looking at his surroundings and fellow students as if from behind a veil. Very effective.

This is a story abou
Oct 14, 2012 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, for-review, sci-fi
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
Apr 24, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2011 Elsa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: qp-2012
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.
Dec 12, 2014 Ahmiire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that this book is good. Amal is just this one kid who everyone looks at Like a weirdo. Nobody wants to even be near him. People call him gay and mess with him in the boys locker room. Mal also thinks that he does not fit in on earth. He claims that he was abducted a while ago by aliens. Everyone Else around him say that it was just mal having a nervous breakdown. Even in class when he messes up, all the guys start to laugh at him and whoever else who messes up. The only person that mal l ...more
Karen Johnson
Jul 06, 2014 Karen Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2011
Her writing isn't anything crazy or stupendous but I love it's honestly and unflinching reality. Quick read but really dense and emotional.
Jul 20, 2011 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rev, ya, speculative
Moving, hopeful, sad, thoughtful, and innovative, with lots of cross genre appeal.
Andy Nordvall
Sep 18, 2014 Andy Nordvall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book from Miss Castellucci. More serious than Odd Duck or the Plain Janes, the author takes us into the mind of Mal, the school outcast/"weirdo" as he struggles with a crappy home life and possible memories of being abducted by aliens.

The book keeps up the tension of whether we should believe Mal or his new friend, a homeless guy Hooper who might be a stranded E.T.

Ending had a nice twist that seemed surprising yet inevitable. I also enjoyed the sparse first-person narration that br
Saleena Davidson
Feb 05, 2014 Saleena Davidson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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Cecil Castellucci is an author of young adult novels and comic books. Titles include Boy Proof, The Year of the Beasts (illustrated by Nate Powell), First Day on Earth, Rose Sees Red, Beige, The Queen of Cool The Plain Janes and Janes in Love (illustrated by Jim Rugg), Tin Star Stone in the Sky, Odd Duck (illustrated by Sara Varon) and Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure.

Her short
More about Cecil Castellucci...

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“Hello and good-bye are not as simple as everyone thinks.” 10 likes
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