Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune (Young Picador)” as Want to Read:
When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune (Young Picador)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune (Shayla Dubois #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  258 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Shayla lives with her mother and her teenage sister, Tia, in a poor, rough area of Houston. While Tia, to her mother's distress, has taken up with a local boy who is none-to-bright, Shayla becomes friends with Kambia Elaine, the strange girl who has moved in next door.
Published by Macmillan Children's Books (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 807)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Danielle Conner
Mar 24, 2009 Danielle Conner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was intense from the day i picked it up till the day i put it down. i believe that this was an amazing book and is now one of my favorites. Through Lori Aurelia Williams use of descriptive diction and use of literary devices i felt as if i was walking through the same problems as Shayla was. I could tell when Shayla meant that she lived in the "bottom", and she literally means she lives in the bottom in society. The characters were explained so well that i knew exactly what each ones p ...more
Sarah Sullivan
Mar 27, 2011 Sarah Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Gorgeous compelling book. I cared about Shayla, her family and Kambia from the beginning, and the portrait of the friendship that emerges between the two girls is perfectly captured. Everyday indignities, like Shayla's story being rejected from a writing contest because she used street talk are given their deserved weight, and the horrible secrets that are revealed aren't lost into melodrama. The language in the book is exceptional (lines like "pain is running from our faucets like tap water" pe ...more
Dec 12, 2014 Brianna is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book so far is amazing I have not read any books by Lori Aurelia Williams but I might start. In her book titled "When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune" the main character Shayla lives in the poorer low town party of Texas with her Mama and her older sister Tia. In the beginning there is a huge conflict between Mama and Tia about Tia and being sexually active. Shayla gets caught in the crossfire. Over the summer a girl moved in next door to them about Shayla's age. Shayla meets and talks t ...more
Nov 24, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I expected more out of this book than what i got. Once you get to the middle of the story the plot is pretty much flat and I felt I had to push myself to read on and finish the book.
Kambia J.
Feb 25, 2012 Kambia J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is AMAZING. I've read it about 3 times. I never cease to cry after reading it each time. I recommend you read the "sequel" to it.
Initially when I started reading this book I was not particularly impressed, but it slowly grew on me. If I hadn’t committed to reading it for the challenge, I’m not sure that I would have continued, but I’m glad I did. It’s not a book I would have chosen to read at the age it was marketed to, but it would have been a good one for school!

Shayla felt naïve to me reading as an adult, but that may be that’s the 20/20 hindsight perspective on the book. There are some concepts that are tackled that I
You can kind of tell this is a first novel. It's not at all a bad book, but I think a more ruthless editor should have worked on it.
Shayla's character is quite likable and mostly believable. However I found her to be awfully naive for twelve, especially coming from a rough neighborhood like she does. The trope of the disadvantaged child who wants to be a writer is kind of overdone, and in my mind is kind of a symptom of first-novel-itis.
Tia's character was probably the most believable of the bun
Sep 13, 2012 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In her debut novel, Lori Aurelia Williams creates a very convincing and empathetic voice for Shayla, her 12-year-old narrator. Shayla is a bright, creative girl trying to puzzle out life in an economically disadvantaged part of Texas called the "Bottom". Like many first novels, this one attempts to take on several big issues (including racism, learning disabilities, and sexual abuse), and mostly succeeds. Initially, I was really frustrated at Shayla for not being able to identify the horrors tha ...more
Jun 08, 2008 Marc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is about a girl named Shayla Dubois who lives in a Houston neighborhood called the Bottom. She lives a life that suddenly went terrible when her sister got kicked out of her house and her father, Anderson Fox, came back home spending a lot of time with her mother. Also, Shayla encountered a new, yet strange neighbor named Kambia Elaine. Kambia tells Shayla about strange creatures like Lizard People, Memory Beetles and Wallpaper Wolves that prey after little girls. But beyond their stor ...more
Nov 14, 2013 Kira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When Kambia Elaine Flew in from Neptune" is a novel that was extremely enjoyable to read. Shayla, the protagonist, experiences what it means to grow up in Houston as a young teenage female. She wants to become a writer, however, both her father, who is rarely in her life, and her mother don't believe writing will get her anywhere in life. Shayla's life takes a turn for the worst when her older sister, Tia, goes missing after her mother becomes upset because of her relationship with her 23-year ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daja Walker
Nov 13, 2014 Daja Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is seriously one of the best books I've ever read. Being one that loves romance and nothing else can catch my attention, this book was enthralling. You'll fall into Kambia's imagination and fall in love with her struggle. Five stars!
Jun 06, 2010 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 11th-grade
This book takes place in a black neighborhood in Houston. This story revolves around the character Shayla who encounters family issues while being introduced to a weird girl who is her next door neighbor, Kambia. Shayla becomes Kambia's only friend and is slowly let into the details of her life that shocks the whole neighborhood. Shayla is a straight A's student, being raised by her mother single-handed, while her father is off with other woman in the neighborhood. Her sister falls in love with ...more
Favorite parts were the notes Shayla added to her blue notebook. Some what predictable story but enjoyable.
Rhea Meadows
Mar 11, 2008 Rhea Meadows rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Rhea by: my mommy
this book is so0o0o0o GOOD! im not finish reading it but i have a couple of pages left to read. Kambia is a girl who's mother opens her house for a prade of men [thats how she pays the rent] shayla is the main character in this book! her sister tia goes missing because there mother does not approve of her dumb-founded 23 year old boyfriend! Kambia makes up fairytale stories so no one will guess what is really going on with her. one part of the book i really enojoy'd was when she tells shayla abo ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. This is one of my favorite stories. It is heartbreaking and touching.
Thomas Foss
Mar 19, 2014 Thomas Foss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great look at what it means to be innocent in a world in which pain exists all around you.
Feb 03, 2014 Judith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2015 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one will fuck you up yo.
Mar 15, 2011 Cory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You know how little kids learn how to do somersaults, and then they always want to show you how they can do a somersault, regardless of whether or not you are in a place where a somersault is appopropriate? That's kind of how I felt about this author's use of language in her book. Just because you know a metaphor doesn't mean you should use a metaphor. Also, I found the main character to be too "young" for her age, and it distracted me.
Nov 12, 2008 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shayla has dreams of being a writer, not a typical dream for a girl living on the poor side of Houston. Her single mom and her sister Tia have had a monumental fight, resulting in Tia's moving out. Her rarely seen father moves in, eating what little is in the fridge and playing pool rather than finding work. And next door is skinny, odd Kambia, with her fantasy stories and a mom who entertains different men every night.
Belated review. This was a solid book, with some great characters and vivid writing. It's children's lit edging on YA, but didn't talk down to the audience. (Though, the storyline of "what's happening to Kambia" was of course very obvious to the adult reader, and it's very very painful and very hard to read). I enjoyed how the neighbourhood was its own character as well, in lots of little ways.
Liyah T.
Oct 05, 2010 Liyah T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed this book. I probably would have never read a book like this but it was the first page that pulled me in and engaged me. it made me want to read more. I finished the book in about one week thats how good it was. i would really recommend this book to people who like to read books about broken homes and familys(some-what relatable storys). It was really good.
LaQuita Stewart
I think this book was really good. it had a good beginning and it made you think about was going to happen next. it had a plot and it was like all different kinds of stories that lead to 1 big story. i would recommend this book
Oct 14, 2010 Shakena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the best books i ever read. it had alot of ups and downs which kept me interested in it, but at times it did get a little boring. Overall i liked the book alot. I would tell a friend about it.
Aug 21, 2011 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most beautiful thing about this book are the sentences Shayla writes in her journal. Williams captures the voice of the burgeoning writer perfectly. This haunting story will stay with you for a long time.
 Imani ♥ ☮
This book was really good. I felt for all of the characters: Shayla, Kambia. I felt really bad for Kambia even though I knew what was happening to her. The sequel was just as good too.
Jan 02, 2009 Tiffy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book leaves you feeling for Kambia even though she seems weird, it has you hoping her and Shayla don't get pulled apart. It also leaves you wondering where is Tia.
Oct 23, 2008 lyndsey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngadult
this book was sad. :(

it involved some pretty heinous childhood sexual abuse that was hard to read. it was well written and i like the protagonist very much.
Sep 12, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Quick but intense read - what I really liked was Shayla's voice, it was unique and felt very true to being a kid just starting to understand adult things.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Imagine 1 6 Jun 07, 2007 08:00AM  
  • Lucy the Giant
  • Night Flying
  • Choir Boy
  • It Is What It Is (So For Real, #2)
  • Estrella's Quinceanera
  • Celine
  • Toning The Sweep
  • When the Black Girl Sings
  • Sex Education
  • El Lector
  • Imani All Mine
  • Cress Delahanty
  • Mare's War
  • Sellout
  • Beneath My Mother's Feet
  • Sticks and Stones
  • The Hermit Thrush Sings
  • Big Fat Manifesto
Though Lori Aurelia Williams adored reading as a child, she never thought she’d be a writer when she grew up. While studying English at the University of Texas at Austin, she departed from the traditional lecture and composition courses and took a creative writing class on whim. Through that class, she learned she loved and had a gift for storytelling. For her fiction, which combines African-Ameri ...more
More about Lori Aurelia Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Shayla Dubois (2 books)
  • Shayla's Double Brown Baby Blues

Share This Book

“Once your words fly out of your mouth, you sometimes can't control whether they fly straight or crooked, Grandma Augustine says. "They can get bent in the strangest ways." Grandma Augustine says that the only way to straighten out bad words is to keep making good ones until you say what you need to say to who you need to say it to.” 10 likes
More quotes…