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The True Meaning of Smekday

(Smek #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  8,942 ratings  ·  1,720 reviews
It all starts with a school essay.

When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre sp
Hardcover, 426 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Kat Stiles Can't imagine it. I love the movie, but the book is so much more fun! :) I'm reading it to my 6 year old and enjoying every page. …moreCan't imagine it. I love the movie, but the book is so much more fun! :) I'm reading it to my 6 year old and enjoying every page. (less)
Chloe Jane The movie Home, is very very loosely based off the book.

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Before reading Adam Rex’s delicious banquet of pop culture skewers dipped in saucy social commentary and served alongside a heaping helping of warm, filling comfort food, the phrase "I love J.LO" had NEVER been part of my working vocabulary. Well folks…*burp*…I love J.LO. Now, I’m not referring to "Ms. Diva from the Block junky trunk", but rather the sweetest, charmingest, most Booviful Boov ever to invade Earth in search of oranges and urinal cakes:
Smekday is definitely a feel gooder with
If someone had told me that there’s a book about an alien invasion, featuring a girl on the run from the internment of humans in camps while she searches for her abducted mother, and it’s funny, and it’s for kids, I think that I would have called shenanigans. But, that’s exactly what this book is. Thank goodness I had no idea what this was about before I started, or I may not have given it a chance. Now that I’ve read it, I just want to push it off on everyone I know.

Gratuity “Tip” Tucci is only
4.5-5 stars. This book was such a hoot! (No, I didn't see the movie.) I've been meaning to read this book for ages, and when I stumbled across the audiobook narrated by Bahni Turpin (I'm a big fan of her work), well, it was a no-brainer.
Bahni Turpin does a wonderful job voicing Gratuity "Tip" Tucci, really giving me a great sense of the character's humour, determination, integrity and love. As far as J.Lo was concerned, once I got over my initial surprise over his odd sentence construction and
Aug 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Pretty much my favorite children's book of the past few years, and one of my favorite books overall. It has such a sense of gamboling fun, even with the aliens are busy herding up humanity and shunting them off to states that they themselves don't particularly like.

J-Lo, the alien character is charming, and I wish he could be my own friend. Rex put a lot of emotion into that lovable squat fireplug, and my only "J-Lo" related dismay is that while readers of this book might know that J-Lo named h
Debbie Zapata
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019sundaze
On one of my twice yearly bus trips to visit Mom I saw parts of a movie called Home. Parts because I tend to sleep most of the time on the bus and could not get myself awake enough to watch the whole thing. But I did see it on cable once I got back down to the casa. I learned then that the movie was inspired by this book (and its sequel, which I am reading now) so I made a note and ordered them both but never took them back to Mexico with me. The idea of me moving back to Arizona to be with Mom ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
I really enjoyed this novel. Tip's story was a blast to follow, and I really enjoyed her and J.Lo's friendship throughout it. I thought it was so fun to see how different people would react to a hostile alien invasion and Tip's reactions to them. The ending actually made me laugh, but I won't spoil it. If you like plucky characters, I think you'd like Gratuity "Tip" Tucci

I listened to this on audio, and honestly, Bahni Turpin is becoming one of my favorite narrators. She made the experience that
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: My nieces
Recommended to Terence by: Ceridwen's GR review
The critics have spoken:

"This is the bestest book in the whole widest world!!!" - Felix, The Other New York Review of Books

"Two thumbs up! Way up or this one!" - Roger Fleabert & Gene Whiskel, At the Libraries

I leave it to the reader of this review to go and find out why the cat world raves about this book, and I'll leave it to Steve's and Ceridwen's reviews to clinch the intention to read this funny, touching and intelligent book.

For my part, I'm going to send this off to my nieces ASAP as soon
Jan 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"The Boov jumped off his antler spool and went back inside the MoPo...."

I think I'm going to memorize this line. And next time someone asks me a question I don't want to answer, I'm gonna hit 'em with the Boov.

Smekday is funny, silly, and entertaining. Gratuity/Tip is a terrific heroine, spunky and anxious and bold. But my favorite character was J.Lo. Who knew Boov could be so big-hearted? (Plus, who knew urinal cakes were apparently so delicious?)

Although it's a bit long for a read-aloud, I ca
If I had to describe this book in a word, I'd call it a romp. It's fun, it's funny, it's a fast-paced adventure. And it's very clever. Too clever, in fact; one gets the impression that the author is very impressed with himself, and cracks himself up with how witty and clever he can be.

Somewhere on GoodReads, I saw a description of a book (don't recall which one) as "it's like a friend's little brother--he's really funny and entertaining for a little while, and then you want him to go away." Tha
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit, ya, sci-fi
As a reader, there's a certain type of book I dream about: one that somehow manages to be smart and funny and meaningful. Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday is—wonder of wonders!—just such a book. Don't feel bad if you've never heard of it, however, because it also happens to be a kids' book. But it's one that can be appreciated just as easily by adults, who are just as likely to enjoy the novel's fantastic narrative voice and sharp sense of humor, and may get even more out of Smekday's cent ...more
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In the wreckage of America post alien invasion, an eleven-year-old girl sets off on an epic road trip with one of the invaders and a cat.

OMG. OMG OMG my feels, I can't. This is hilarious and sad and wonderful and quirky. I giggled, I sniffled, I gasped. I got my feels everywhere, which doesn't happen for just any old book.

Basically, if you are a sucker for very brave, very angry little girls; if two people tentatively reaching out from opposite sides of a war and a language barrier and a lot of
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I got this book at one of my favorite bookstores of all time: A small, charming little shop in Redlands, CA called The Frugal Frigate. I don't live there anymore, but back in 2008 my mom and I were in town and I stopped by the store for old time's sake.

The store had since been bought out by an older couple, but they had maintained its comfortable, cozy charm. Nothing had changed since I'd last visited, and that meant more to me than anything in the world. I'd be heartbroken if anything was diffe
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the funniest, constantly entertaining books I've read in a long time, kids book or otherwise. The narrator is a brilliantly sarcastic young girl, the alien J-Lo is a riot, and the premise never gets tired. I kept waiting for some sappy "kids book" ending to mar the climax, but it never got bad. I'm going to buy a copy to own, just so I can re-read it to Mulzer again. ...more
Oh my word. I need to have children so I can read this to them. Who wants to make some reading-ready children with me? Stephanie? Stephanie?
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
Gratuity “Tip” Tucci has been assigned a five-page essay on what Smekday–the day that the alien race called the Boov that conquered Earth suddenly left–means to her. But Tip’s story far exceeds the assignment, and before long, she finds herself chronicling her journey from start to finish. Her mother was abducted the day the Boov arrived, and Tip goes on a journey to find her, first in Florida where the Boov relocated all the humans, and then to Arizona (when they decided they wanted Florida for ...more
"Pass to me the flocked bootpunch."
"Can you describe it?"
"Pink. Fur. Twisty parts."
"That's like, three things in here."
"It will be quivering a little."
"Aha. Here."
Two hours passed and I had to admit I wasn't good for anything except handing J.Lo tools that had been described really well beforehand.

This is one of my heart-happy books. It just brings me joy. There's no other way to describe it. Tip and J.Lo's friendship owns my entire heart, I just love the way they go from not really cari
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful book—one that manages to not only be engaging and funny, but also smart! How many young adult books are there that are really biting, clever satires on the colonisation of foreign cultures, race and ethnicity which aren't Books With a Moral? (Same goes for adult books, I suppose.) Set in 2013, it follows eleven-year-old Gratuity Tucci, her cat Pig and a renegade alien called J.Lo who set off across America in an attempt to save the world from the alien Boov, and from another ...more
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Most everyone thinks of Smekday as the day the Boov arrived, and as the day they left, one year later. But the longer they've been gone, the less I care about that. The Boov weren't anything special. They were just people. They were too smart and too stupid to be anything else."

This is the best, funniest allegory for Manifest Destiny, colonialism, and privilege that you will ever, ever read. Yes, there are cartoons. Yes, there is an entire page that is only the word "meow" repeated. Yes, the a
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So get this:
This is a book about colonization and cultural appropriation that predominantly features People of Colour as the main characters.

IKR! Wuuuuuuuut.
Rex is a genius. He’s pulled from historical (and current day) examples of colonialism and violent takeovers and just imported them into an alien invasion. You’re reading along thinking “WTF, they can’t ‘give us’ Florida and pretend it’s a huge gift, it was ours to begin with and we won’t all…”

There are a couple of things that happened in th
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
[Review originally posted on LiveJournal, 2007/08/09]

I loved this book SO MUCH I can hardly find words to tell you.

An 11-year-old girl named Gratuity, her cat Pig, and an utterly adorable alien who answers to "J.Lo" end up taking a road trip across the southern USA in a souped-up hovercar to find Gratuity's missing mother and incidentally maybe save the world -- this is a book full of quirky delights and unexpected depths, not to mention some pretty incisive social commentary (albeit deftly han
Rachel Brown
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous and very funny science fiction comedy in which eleven-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci tells the story of how Earth was colonized by aliens, and she ended up traveling cross-country in search of her mother in a flying car called Slushious, in the company of a conflicted alien named J. Lo.

This book has all sorts of elements which I normally hate, from cutesy pop culture references to heavy-handed messages ("colonialism is bad") to mocking Disneyland (easy target). Amazingly, I loved it a
Colleen Venable
It took me a bit to get into this one, but perhaps that was because I picked it up 100% convinced it was going to be my new favorite book in the world before I read a single character. As soon as J.Lo appeared I was HOOKED. His Balki-an charm, urinal cake eating habits, and hysterical integrated "The History of the Boov" mini-comics won me over in no time. I've been a fan of Rex's picture books for years with a lovely collection of signed books on my shelf, each one received while I was red-face ...more
Tom Quinn
Nov 13, 2016 rated it liked it
If you only read one alien-invasion-slash-road-trip-slash-buddy-comedy-based-piece-of-YA-lit-that-crosses-several-boundaries-into-the-realm-of-best-work-of-fiction-for-a-specific-age-group this year, then make it this one. Please.

Big points for originality of premise, but "The True Meaning of Smekday" still falls into some of the common routines of contemporary young adult lit. It's a hodge-podge of weird and zany components that don't stick together well, which evidently must be tremendously ap
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it
It's been a year since the aliens left, and the National Time Capsule committee is collecting essays on The True Meaning of Smekday, one of which will be chosen to go into the capsule and unearthed in one year.

What aliens? What is Smekday? We're about to find out, through the essay of (then) 11-year-old Gratuity Tucci, who lived through the invasion.

The True Meaning of Smekday has been described as "truly wonderful" and "snappy". I was really hoping for a story like that, but I try to keep my
Eva Mitnick
Feb 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is actually a very very long essay written by Middle School student Gratuity Tucci for a contest, the winning essay of which will be placed in a time capsule to be opened in 100 years - in 2113. In it, Gratuity (Tip to her friends) describes the invasion of the Boov and the subsequent relocation of all humans to Florida (and then to Arizona, as the Boov decide they want Florida for themselves). Tip's mother was taken by the aliens early on, and so 12-year-old Tip takes her cat and driv ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, sff, ya
Oh, Smekday, my forever girl. I love this book. I adore it. I'm always an obnoxious book proselytizer (mention a book and watch me rec! forever!), but this book cranked me up to 11. I forced people to read it. I bought a copy for a bed-bound friend. I read this out loud to my Best Beloved. I LOVE THIS BOOK.

I love Tip, I love the alien races, I love the humor, I love the edges hidden inside the humor. I love all the characters, particularly J.Lo, hapless alien repairperson and brave friend to Ti
Jan 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is a hilarious "essay" by Gratuity Tucci on what "Smekday" means to her since the alien Boov took over the world. Rex is also an illustrator, and there are lots of fun pictures and comics to tell parts of the story. I did think that it needed to be divided up into more parts. The first hundred pages is one segment, and the last three hundred are another, with no chapter breaks at all. I could have used a couple of breaks. But it was very, very fun, and I absolutely loved J.Lo the Boov. ...more
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am for reals on an audiobook roll. The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex narrated by Bahni Turpin is one of the most hilarious, heartfelt, and engaging audiobooks that I’ve had the pleasure to listen to. Seriously, if you aren’t sure about audiobooks, introduce your ears to The True Meaning Of Smekday.

Read the rest of my review here
Sean Williams
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly hilarious, moving, clever, exciting, witty, surprising . . . I've run out of adjectives! A superb book. Read it immediately, if you haven't already.

(It has teleporters in it too, as an added bonus.)
F.C. Yee
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The amount I loved this book really snuck up on me as I read it. At no point did it ever stop being hilarious and heartwarming.
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Adam Rex grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, the middle of three children. He was neither the smart one (older brother) or the cute one (younger sister), but he was the one who could draw. He took a lot of art classes as a kid, trying to learn to draw better, and started painting when he was 11. And later in life he was drawn down to Tucson in order to hone his skills, get a BFA from the University of Ar ...more

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Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
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“Woah,' I said, blocking the doorway. 'You can't come in here. This is the girls' room.'
Even as it came out of my mouth, I knew it sounded dumb. Dumb, I thought and maybe even wrong.
You...are a boy, aren't you?' I asked. 'I mean, don't take that the wrong way or anything -'
J.Lo is a boy, yes.' I let that go. Boov have boys and girls...just like us?'
Of course,' said J.Lo. 'Do not be ridicumlous.'
I smiled a wan little smile. 'Sorry.'
The Boov have seven magnificent genders. There is boy, girl, girlboy, boygirl, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy.'
I had absolutely no response to this.”
“Is there a short-eared koobish, then?'
Mmmyes ...' said J.Lo. 'But it is technically not really a koobish. Is more alike a kind of singing pumpkin.'
We had conversations like these all the time, where I just eventually gave up.”
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