Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “First Day on Earth” as Want to Read:
First Day on Earth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

First Day on Earth

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  763 ratings  ·  198 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 going
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about First Day on Earth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about First Day on Earth

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  763 ratings  ·  198 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Ben Loory
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommended in Levithan's 'Every Day.'
Ok for the reluctant reader? If you need to get just one book into the skull of a teen boy who doesn't read, this might be it, cuz it's short & also short on romance, short on deep themes, short on challenging originality?

But I found that it to be a superficial accumulation of tropes. It's got the drunk mother, the runaway father, the We Are the Ants pseudo-mysticism, the sort-of-advanced but vulnerable crashed alien (maybe), the homophobic referen
Oct 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I won this on Goodreads and was glad that I did. A short book about a teen named Mal who believes that he was abducted by aliens four years earlier. Mal hopes the aliens will come back for him so he can escape his horrible life- taking care of his alcoholic mother, being snubbed at school on a daliy basis and dealing with the fact that his father left them and is never coming back. Overall- a moving book about a boy who feels misunderstood in this world and wishes he could leave it all behind hi ...more
Richard Derus
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has had extra outrage added and can be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud!
Oct 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
Kelly Hager
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review, ya, 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
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: speculative, ya, rev
Moving, hopeful, sad, thoughtful, and innovative, with lots of cross genre appeal.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-ya
Is this novel YA fiction, sci-fi/fantasy . . . or what? Well, you read it and let me know!

It's a very quick read, and I raced through it; I was never quite sure where it was going, and I'm not sure I know where it ended, but I enjoyed the ride. Mal is about 16 or 17; he lives with his mother, a deeply disturbed alcoholic who seems to have given up on life after Mal's father disappeared on them one day.

Mal believes he was "taken" by aliens, tested and prodded, and returned, and he doesn't know wh
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
If I had to pick a Cecil Castellucci book that I didn't love, it would probably be this one. I want to say that this is probably the first book of hers that I read where the main character was not female. It's not something that I prefer but it's not a deal breaker for me.

I felt that Mal was a little too angst-y for me - which almost seems silly because Rose in Rose Sees Red has a hefty portion of angst as well. I was not really invested in Mal's story until he meets Hooper, which was 2/3rds in
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Full review here:

Where can I possibly begin with how much I really, really, REALLY liked this book?

In theory and from the description, it's a book about Mal, who is an alien. And all he wants to do is go back to where he's from. And in his Alateen group, he's met this guy named Hooper who is crazy. Who also claims to be from another planet. As soon as the two of these guys who feel like the loneliest people on Earth meet, though, Hooper knows he has to
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First Day on Earth is about a boy named Mal who was supposedly abducted by aliens when he was 12, and now, years later meets a supposed alien in one of his support groups.

It was an extremely interesting book, one of those books where you're not sure whether or not to believe what the narrator is saying. There was no clear truth, and by the end, I still couldn't decide if Mal had actually been abducted by aliens or if he just hadn't been completely stable...

This book was very well written and tau
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the cover on this one. Read the book and realized I had read this one years ago for White Pine. The story still holds for me. Mal is trying to do like everyone else and get by in high school. He is not popular and does not fit in with any crowd.
Mal has a couple of good friends but none know his real secret - he believes he was abducted by aliens.
In addition to a very dysfunctional home life with a divorced alcoholic mother, he helps a homeless man named Hopper who belongs to his alien sup
Christi Naraine
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Simple yet so complex and deep. Some of the passages in this book are just poetic. Each of these characters represent ideas of categories of people we meet in life and Cecil effortlessly captures the internal struggles of people in our society. It beautifully deconstructs social norms and shows readers what it's like to be completely alone in the world. This is the first book by Cecil I've ever read and I'm excited to read more.
I’m really not sure what this book was trying to accomplish. The narrative was pretty inconsistent time-wise, the plot was all over the place, and its short length prevented it from reaching as deep as I feel it could’ve. While not the worst book I’ve ever read, many areas could’ve, and probably should’ve, been expanded upon to include more background and detail.
Mitsuki Monokuro
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laurel Doud
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this book because another YA book recommended it (in the story.) I thought that was cool.

I enjoyed the story and the kids, but it felt kind of redundant. So many other books have mined this topic of teenaged angst, I feel like an alien, everyone else is perfect and I'm not, etc.

Lydia MPLS
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
First Day on Earth, despite being a fairly interesting read, is not exactly science fiction. The book features only a little advanced technology and does not deeply examine life 'as we don't know it.' However, based on the ending, this book can be categorized as science fiction.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Destroy All Cars
  • The Opposite of Tidy
  • Princess Rose and the Crystal Castle
  • All Good Children
  • In the Forests of the Night
  • Way to Go
  • Never After
  • Grim
  • All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky
  • Happy Birthday to Me Again (Birthday Trilogy, #2)
  • The Freak Observer
  • Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow
  • Something Wicked
  • Game Plan
  • Addie on the Inside (The Misfits, #3)
  • Audacious (Ella #1)
  • The Kindling (Fire-us, #1)
  • 7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes (Gert Garibaldi's Rants and Raves, #2)
See similar books…
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
“Hello and good-bye are not as simple as everyone thinks.” 10 likes
“My life sucks. So I shave my head.” 4 likes
More quotes…