This is an Odyssey award winner. It is a good book, but the unabridged audio is 10 ½ hours long and drags in some places. I might suggest the abridged version, unless students are driving on a very long trip for spring break! The story is about the world being taken over by aliens called the Boov. The Boov claim that they tried to get along with the humans but were forced to move to Florida at fist, then the Boov decided they liked oranges so they moved everyone to Arizona. Gratuity Tucci, Tip as she is called by her friend, is an 8th grader trying to write a paper for a time capsule explaining what she went through during the Boov takeover. Tip’s mom was one of the human’s chosen to be taken and tutor them on the English language, all she knew was that her mom disappeared on Christmas Eve, and was now with the other humans and she had to find her. She has a run in with a Boov whose earth name he has deemed JLo, which is just hilarious for all 10 hours. He claims he will help her stay safe if he can ride with her. We find out he is a Boov fugitive. He was sent to a field to fix some antanae, but inadvertently sent a not-very-nice message to the Boov enemy, the Gorge, or the Takers. The Gorg were the ones who ran the Boov off of their own planet. Through the evil of the Gorg, and our soon love of JLo, we come to appreciate the struggle of the Boov, and the horribleness of the Gorg. In the end, Tip and JLo have to convince the new governer of their zone of Arizona, also known as the guy her mom is smitten with, that the Boov aren’t so bad and that the Gorg are going to end the world.
The reader of this book is excellent. I think I have heard her as the voice of one or more of the cartoon characters on TV. Her Boov language imitation is so realistic. She does great, believable voices for each character. I have heard some audio tapes that when the reader tries to do different voice, it is just not convincing. This was extremely believable and helped create an amazing Smekland picture in my head. (Smekland was what the Boov renamed earth). I think students would enjoy listening to this book on a long trip or summer break. It is an excellent example of outstanding read alouds, and a fun fiction book for late elementary, middle schoolers, or high schoolers who have a big imaginiation.