An Odd1's Reviews > The True Meaning of Smekday

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
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Jun 29, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, fun, action, mystery
Read from June 10 to 29, 2012

"The True Meaning of Smekday" by Adam Rex is an essay by Gratuity (after a bicycle accident, inquiring paramedics refused to let her up until she said her name was Janet p119) "Tip" Tucci 11 for Daniel Landry Middle School contest contribution to a 100-year time capsule, 3 teacher letters, and article on the day memories are unearthed. Illustrations embellish. Tip drives cross-country - Pennsylvania, Florida, Roswell, Arizona - aliens and humans help and harm, to rescue her cat Pig (JJ outsmarts traitorous ufo freak p291) and kidnapped mom Lucy. Pig is crucial to save Earth from two deadly alien races: small Boovs and large Gorgs (reminiscent of Chris Riddell beasties).

Silly tickle belly-guffaw fun. Tense terrifying world-ending fear. Words such as koobish could use a closing appendix, but repeated usage keeps their meaning clear. A full cast list of all eccentric minor characters would be extensive. Breadcrumb clues sprinkle trail to many mysteries, such as the Scottish Loch Nessie p202, why Gorgs want cats p249, why odd Gorgs sneeze p375, why Landry's smile scrapes nerves p370, and how to save the universe and everyone in it. High-tech like cloners and transporters p69 are made as simple as bubbles (spoiler: writing); serious topical issues such as pride of country/state, multiplying entertainment channels, the importance of family, are viewed through interplanetary eyes p243. Character motivations fluctuate in kaleidoscopic rainbows; have individual voices. Uniquely memorable, adorable.

(Spoilers:
On Xmas eve 2012 in Pennsylvania, fish-scented p80 seven-gendered p77 aliens kidnap Lucy. Daughter Tip 11 nails corn cans to her church shoes to practice driving their hatchback Chevy Sprint p210 (modified to "Slushious" p65). In June 2013, she packs up cat Pig and Polaroid camera for Florida p7. Enroute, a small pale blue (when most upset) runaway Boov maintenance worker p17 mistakenly radios Earth coordinates to the "Takers", giant destructive Gorgs who ate the Boovian home planet p146, and soon follow. OOOlahluhlaaharlHEEdoo p195 likes the name J.Lo, passes as shy kid brother JayJay when Tip drapes him with a sheet, but his tool-box allows supernatural tinkering.

Below the Disney-like always perfect (mystery like upside-down Haunted House p117) "Happy Mouse Kingdom" p100 reside eight lost boys 8-13 using acronym BOOB "Brotherhood Organized against Oppressive Boov" p126, led by Christian, of caramel color skin and hair p127. All stare "like they'd never seen a black girl with a flashlight before" p125 - the first mention of human skin colors. Crucial error: authorities seek white p130 Lucy, and unofficial Lost List verbal network searches by name p336.

In Area 51 Roswell, Chief Shouting Bear p252 aka Frank José p421 saves them, but is "felled" by a Gorg p281. Boys there form BOOB too - "Backyard telescope Observation Of Occupation by Boov". ("Boys. Honestly." p225) Other roadblocks include a starving lion p130, exploding (JJ mis-speaks "exploring" p72, 236, more) metal "bluzzer" bees p131, UFO festival freaks p217, hurricane flood in a junkyard p158, internal conflicts (JJ thinks "Turtlebear" is a general term of affection p82; Operation called "Catastrophe" by Tip or "Piggyback" by JJ p404).

The solution has many complicated threads. Cloner-transporters reproduce Pig cats and infect Grogs, who run. JJ stays with his new "family" after learning the meaning. Tip is 113 when the capsule is opened, suffers fatal heart attack. JJ lives on, so sequel possible. One reviewer says Rex (debut) will appeal to Eoin Colfer (already a favorite), and Jon Scieszka, so vice versa gives me an unknown to read next.
http://www.jsworldwide.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Knights-Kitchen...

Typo
p127 "one of they boys" could be "the"?

Illustrations (may have lost count) include in 8 line sketches, caricatures, pretend photos (30 new and 1 old with tape and captions), 8 cartoon-strip histories drawn by J.Lo, words by Tip) (p169, 183, 200, 232, 297, 315, 350, 426), and 14 torn-out news or text page clippings. (Tip must have taken 3 films at 10 shots per.)

Most unusual text: p409-14 "meow" from a thousand throats
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