A Christmas story for middle school students with a science fiction twist.
When Edwin cuts his finger, dripping a few drops of blood onto a bone-colored tracking device he becomes a target of a group of aliens that think he holds the secret to the human race’s defeat. The only person who seems to know what to do is a fat man wearing a Santa Claus suit and he somehow seems to know just a little too much. Who is he and why does he know so much? Where did the aliens come from and what are they after? Can a Fourteen year old wandering the cold, empty streets of Manhattan late on Christmas Eve and an odd character dressed as Santa Claus stop the aliens, save the planet and discover the true meaning of Christmas?
James Cardona received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Delaware with a minor in Religious Studies. He enjoys all things creative including the typical things such as drawing, painting, music and creative writing; and the not-so-typical such as building robots and writing computer code. James has written five books and is planning on writing many, many more. He also loves tinkering with computers, electronics and building robots and is a mentor for FIRST Robotics FRC Team 316. James also helps organize and run the PSEG Salem County Math Showcase which he created back in the year 2000, a math competition for students from grades four through eight, typically attended each year by approximately 500-600 students. He lives in Southern New Jersey and works as a Senior Test Engineer for the Laboratory and Testing Services group of Public Service Electric and Gas company. H
UPDATE: Please read the end of this review for my update on this book.
I saw this book and thought it looked really interesting, so I added it to my TBR list here on Goodreads. A short while later, the author contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in receiving a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Of course. Not only was it a book that I had wanted to read, but I have also done several r2rs for authors on here AND I love Christmas books.
He asked me if I could read the book within a week's time so I moved him to the front of the line and started his book yesterday, then stayed up late last night reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open. When I woke up this morning, I grabbed my Kindle, wanting to finish it, to find out what happens. I mean, all in all it's not a bad book. The story line is interesting, the adventure is fun. I like the main character and the insight he has into the children's home he lives at and his new family.
When I finished the story, I just sat there. I just felt - disappointed. The ending felt really out of place and didn't make sense, with no explanation. It was as if I began one book and finished another.
And the title and book description are a little deceiving. I mean, with a title like "Santa Claus vs the Aliens," you would think that there would be some big clash between the two. But there wasn't. The description goes on to say "Can a fourteen your old wandering the cold, empty streets of Manhattan late on Christmas Eve and an odd character dressed as Santa Claus stop the aliens and save the planet?" Don't get me wrong, I like the way that "Santa" was described here, his backstory, but in reality, he makes one big appearance (where he explains some things to the young boy), then disappears, only to reappear at the ending - after everything is concluded. It's the boy that is the hero - shouldn't the title be Edwin vs the Aliens? And Santa had no idea how he did it - and, to be honest, even though I know how he did it, I'm still ... confused just isn't the right word, but, yeah, I kinda am.
Looking back now at the book page here on Goodreads, it is described as "A Christmas story for middle school students with a science fiction twist." Looking at his author page, I see that he is a writer of some books with a religious theme. Having been a fan of science fiction since I was REALLY young and having spent most of my adult life working with children and always looking for the next book to share with them, I can tell you honestly that I can't see a middle school child finishing this book and not going "What the...?" I mean, I had high hopes that this was going to be my Christmas gift this year for my young friends, but ... I mean, I feel horrible saying that - he has some great reviews on this book and he seems like a nice guy and this book was good, but the ending just comes out of left field and leaves science fiction and goes into religion without really any religion being in the book in the first place, other than the fact that nuns run the children's home. I would have liked there to be a real ending and if the author would like to contact me again, I would be glad to give him my thoughts.
A few days after I posted this review, the author did indeed contact me to discuss the book. Over the next few days we messaged back and forth about the changes that could be made to this book that would make it EVEN better.
A few hours ago, I received an email informing me of some changes that he is making throughout the story along with a .pdf attachment of the "proposed ending." THIS is what I'm talking about. I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with what this story has become and I'm glad that James so easily took some constructive criticism.
This is the kind of book that I want to give to the kids I know as a holiday gift. And the new ending - I had goosebumps, tears in my eyes and felt that excitement I used to feel when I came downstairs Christmas morning and saw that Santa had taken a bite out of the cookies I specially made for him, had drank all of his milk and had even given some of the carrots to the reindeers.
This book went from 3 stars to at the very least 4 1/2. And a book I definitely recommend. :)
**Revised Review at bottom of page!** (Please read both review AND revision)
I give this book 4.5 STARS!!
First off, I received this as an e-book from the author and agreed to do a review when finished. I was finally able to get back to it after many delays and here's my take on it.
The story is about a boy named Edwin. It's set in 1954 NYC, the day before Christmas, so Christmas Eve day. He lives in a Childrens Home because his family couldn't afford to care for him (I had no idea that places like this Childrens Home still existed in 1954, but they did.)at this time.
Edwin has an old, ugly ring his Dad had given him and he'd thrown away the night before. Now, he thinks better of it and wants to look for it. He and another boy (Frankie, the homes' bully) go out to look for this ring in the park, down by the river. While in the park, they notice 2 people pushing a large stroller, but really don't pay much attention to them. At least, not until after finding the ring. That's when things start to happen.
Flash back to to 1943 Puerto Rico, where we meet Fundy and his horse, Paulo. Fundy is Edwin's Dad and this chapter gives the back-story of how Aliens and Santa will come to enter into Edwins' life. This was by far my favorite chapter. It was cute, funny and I really liked the 2 characters together-this man and his horse. I wish the humor and warmth from this chapter had been carried into the rest of the book.
Flash forward, and we're back to 1954. After finding the ring, Edwin is followed by the 2 people from down by the river. He doesn't realize it right away, but eventually, he does. Edwin heads off to find his Dad (he works as a dishwasher for a major restaurant), to see if he can help him somehow.
Ok, to move this along and not give anything more away, here's a short really summary of the rest of the book. Edwin meets up with Santa in Macy's, finds his Dad at his job, causes quite a bit of mayhem and has it out with the Aliens!
I thought this was an ok book. I think it would appeal to the age group it's targeted to (middle grade) and it is an easy read. I like the fact that it talks to kids and isn't "dumbed down" for them. Adults can read this and not find it dull.
That being said, I did have some problems with it.
First off, the majority of the book is about Edwin and there's only a small amount of time devoted to Santa. So I'm wondering, why wasn't titled something like "Edwin and Santa vs The Aliens"? The title as it is, at least to me, implies that there will be a lot of Santa and Alien action and there just isn't.
Problem two. If you're going to write a story in another era, please get the facts right! It doesn't matter if it's written for adults or kids. The facts should fit the era (IE: The "I heart NY" t-shirts did not exist in 1954. They were introduced in 1977 and it took me all of 2 secs. to Google it. I also got mine around that time and kind of knew they came out around 1980). There's also a part where Edwin is being told about the Aliens by Santa, and Santa is saying things like, "Their technology was biological, not mechanical/electrical... Developed living tissues that would measure the environment, perform calculation, data storage, cellular mechanisms, etc...." Now I'm sorry, but I just don't see being able to tell anyone in 1954 about these things and have them understand a word you're saying! They would've looked at you like you were a crazy person! Yes, they were crazy for anything Sci-fi then, but this stuff was just way too far out for their imaginations to even begin to comprehend! These are all things from today, not then.
Lastly, the ending was a little overbearing, but it's a Christmas story so I can deal with that. What I didn't like, was the fact that there was no real ending. It was just like, "Ok. Well, it's the next day, so I guess this is done." I really wanted more out of the ending than I got. It was just a bit disappointing, is all.
All in all, like I said, it's not a bad book. It's got some really cute and funny parts to it and it has a nice little Christmas message at the end of it, to pull at your heart strings. I guess I just wish there were more fun and cute moments in all of the book. What I would really like to see from this author is a book about Fundy and Paulo. I'd like to know more about their life together before Fundy leaves Puerto Rico for NYC. Now THAT would be a fun and enjoyable book!!
**Revisions to my first reviews!**
After reading this and posting my review, the author (James) reached out and asked if I'd read a re-write of the last couple chapters of the book (This is where the majority of fixing needed to be done to make this a great book). Well, of course I said yes because any author that is willing to really listen to their readers is, to me anyway, a really super awesome Human Being!!
Anyway, I read the re-write and it was great! It was exactly what I had been looking for in the first writing. I added some of my thoughts and ideas and James really listened to what I had to say. Nice!!
James added more action with Santa Claus. He toned down the religious aspect just a bit, fixed the typos and got rid of the things you wouldn't find in 1954 NYC. He's put in a lot of work to fix this little book of his, and it has in my opinion, really paid off!
Now, not only does he have a quirky little Christmas book for kids to read, he has a great book that I think everyone will enjoy.
Kudos to James for going the extra mile in his efforts. It's a true artist that can take helpful criticism and use it to his advantage. Thanks James for letting me be a very small part of that effort! And I hope to read more from this author in the future!!
"A person can only play the hand that they are dealt and my cards...they weren't so good you see." -Fundy
Please note that I received a free copy of Santa Claus vs The Aliens from the author in exchange for an honest review.
One day, Fundy witnesses a strange object falling out of the sky. It gets stuck in the nearby mud, and a strange man comes out of it. Fundy first believes the object to be something like an asteroid and hopes to sell it for money, but when he realizes a person is in it, he helps the man pull his strange vehicle out of the brown goo that it's embedded in with his own horse, Paulo. To thank Fundy and to repay him for his generous services, the peculiar stranger bestows upon him a ring and tells Fundy that he can call upon him anytime he needs help for he will surely show up to assist him.
Fast forwarding to present day, Edwin, Fundy's adolescent son, is now in possession of the ring. After his encounter with the strange man, Fundy and his wife moved to the United States hoping to find happiness, but instead they eventually get divorced, placing Edwin in a children's home when neither of them could take care of their own son, but before Edwin was sent to a home, Fundy gave his son the ring. The father had tried to call upon the man he met long ago many times before, but he never came in all of that time. Now several years after his divorce, Fundy has remarried, had a little girl, acquired a decent job, and wishes for Edwin to come back home. Alas, the boy cannot bring himself to do this. He feels as though his home is no longer his own if a strange woman is living there. Edwin knows that he will no longer see his father and actual mother together ever again. It's just not right to him.
Out of frustration, Edwin throws away the ring in a park during a winter's day. However, he soon finds himself feeling guilty and returns to search for it on Christmas Eve, and, just after finding the ring, he encounters two extremely odd individuals who seem less than human. It's obvious to him that their anatomy and speech pattern are completely off. Edwin flees from the scene once he has the ring back in his possession, only to find himself later followed by these creepy creatures. No matter how many turns he makes, routes he takes, or back alleys he hides in, they always find him. With them hot on his trail, Edwin goes into a Macy's store, rushing to find safety. He has no idea what they want from him. Once he finally arrives in an area where children are lining up to talk to the Santa stationed in the store, Edwin is given special attention by the man who is supposed to deliver toys all around the world to children everywhere on Christmas Eve. Santa gives him a knowing look and tells him that he will never stop being followed. What in the world is going on? Who are those people that are chasing him? What's with this Santa, why does he seem so authentic, and most importantly, how does he know about Edwin being tracked down if he never mentioned it?! Read Santa Clause vs The Aliens for the answers to these pressing questions!
I have to start off by saying that this book was so enjoyable! Despite the fact that it's actually geared towards a younger audience than myself, I found it to be a really fun and great read for a person who's older than the targeted age range. I can definitely see a younger person reading it just as much as a whole family with people of varying ages sitting and reading it aloud together during the Christmas season. It has many great qualities in it including a Christmas message that is more subtle than boisterous and overbearing. I highly recommend it!
My favorite aspect of this book was how it took place during the twentieth century. While we all think we know the story of Santa Clause, Cardona put an unexpected yet fascinating twist on the origin of this cherished yet timeless figure. I just really got into the Christmas mood while reading this story despite the fact that's is only October. Alas, I still have a couple more months to go.
There is simply something about the character Edwin that I really fell in love with and latched on to. Perhaps it was his family situation and the decision that he had to make when deciding whether to live with his reconstructed family or stay at a children's home that naturally drew me to him. Also, the slight peek into Fundy's past was a rich addition to the novel. Then there were the aliens! What child doesn't like either Santa Claus or aliens? After you put the two together you get one smash adventure for the whole family to enjoy!
Overall, I have to say Santa Claus vs The Aliens was an imaginative, entertaining, and original story placed in a fast paced and thoroughly genuine tale of love, family, and Christmas.
Love it. The right mix of humor, danger and whimsy...
Santa Claus vs. the Aliens follows young Edwin Cardona on an unexpected adventure in New York City. Edwin, the son of Puerto Rican emigrants, lives in a children's home where his father left him temporarily while he got on his feet. In a moment of frustration, Edwin throws away his father's most cherished possession, a gaudy ring with a face that looks like Santa. The story begins with Edwin setting out from the children's home on a quest to retrieve the lost ring and ramps up from there into a surprisingly riveting urban adventure featuring aliens, Santa and personal growth.
Set in the Great Depression era, the historical details in this story are both fascinating and accurately portrayed. I didn't get all of the song references, favorites of the time, but the rest is interesting. That young Edwin lives in a children's home and prefers it to his father's family is an interesting setup, made all the more so because Edwin, his father and the family are all real people, relatives of the author. In fact, I've confirmed it with the author; everything besides the obviously fictional parts (aliens, Santa, etc.) actually happened as told in the story.
I enjoyed how the story is told from the perspective of Edwin and occasionally his father. Edwin's New York accent comes out strongly in the dialog but does not carry over into the narrative, making the story easy to read and enjoy while still seeming authentic to the setting. Unlike some books I've read where the accents make the dialog unintelligible, the author uses simple tweaks to the words that help the reader pronounce them the way they would have been spoken. Overall, I thought it was well done.
Besides the accent and perspective, Edwin's inner conflict is well done. He's got a lot going on for such a young man, and that doesn't all go away just because he's on the run from scary aliens. Edwin is a strong character and he reacts to the challenges he faces in a believable and admirable way. I also enjoyed the father's side story and history, especially the part where he meets the Farting Man, both funny and appropriate for a kid's story.
For a story aimed at the middle school crowd, I think this one has the right mix of humor, danger and whimsy. The story is unique and can be enjoyed by people both young and old; plus, it's an interesting take on the Santa story and the sci-fi twist is fantastic.
As an added bonus, teachers and parents can take advantage of the vocabulary words listed out by chapter at the end of the book. Throughout the story, the words are used in context and explained succinctly, and I must admit I learned a few new ones. Kids will appreciate that the story is fun and doesn't seem like it's teaching them anything at all (though it is). I think this would be a good book to stock in school libraries.
There is some Christian content and context, as might be expected in a story that features a Santa character at Christmas time, but the story is written in such a way that individuals can take what they need from the story, whether a message of faith overcoming all or one of a person's strength of will helping him through a tough situation. It really is left to the reader to decide, giving this story a broader appeal than if it had just focused on one or the other.
Overall, I loved this story for its unique plot, strong characters and fascinating history. I highly recommend it to readers both young and old, though the audience that will likely appreciate it the most would be the middle school crowd.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
This is a fun adventure for young readers. Main character Edwin is a typical boy, and he is highly relatable to kids. His thoughts and actions are typical for a kid, and the story is just complex enough to keep ages 9-14 interested without being confusing.
I enjoyed the new origin for Santa Claus. The back story is well thought-out and gives an interesting new twist to an old tale. I also enjoyed the parts that gave just a glimpse into Puerto Rico’s history and culture, and I think kids would enjoy that too. It’s fantastic to provide that kind of diversity, not only for kids who come from that culture, but to educate kids from other cultures about the people around them.
Even as an adult, I found this story enjoyable. It gives off a sort of Dr. Who vibe, but only in a “time traveler here to help humanity” sort of way. It in no way copies from that show, and I have no idea if the author watches it. As a fan of the show myself, that’s just how I saw the story. This is a fun read - highly recommended!
I've reviewed this book before and I promised the author that I would reread it after rewrite. I'm happy to say that he was successful in tightening up the storytelling.
Santa Claus Versus the Aliens tells of the Cardona family's extraordinary experience with Santa Claus and blank-faced alien beings. The novel itself spans several generations, but is focused mainly on a single story arc. It follows a long-used plot device where an object (in this case a weird-looking ring) transfers possession over time, linking generations of the Cardona family, starting when their ancestors lost their ranch in Spain.
The narrative quality in this book is very good with a storytelling to match. Edwin is a sympathetic protagonist, an abandoned child reared in a children's home and pursued by biological beeping aliens called Trackers. In the process of Edwin's escape, he encounters a fat man in a big red suit doing a department store Christmas gig. Edwin is helped by "Santa" who is really a long-stranded alien from a faraway peaceful planet performing DNA research on Earth. The book is short, so I am not going to mention any other spoiler and ruin it for potential readers.
As you can see, the back story the author weaved around Santa and the aliens, linking it to the present-day myth is quite clever. It is a creative take on how Santa came to be. The back story of the far planet and its evil moon where the Fat Man and the beeping alien DNA gatherers originated is skillfully thought of as well. I commend the author for his imagination. Edwin's story of abandonment is quite touching, especially when he sees his little sister Hilda living in his Dad's apartment when he himself has been given away. It will touch your heartstrings. There are still some cartoonlike action scenes, but this is a children's book, and in line with the genre.
In summary, there are glowing nuggets in the storytelling concerning life's lessons, disappointments, and realities, prompting me to recommend this book wholeheartedly. The prose is good and draws the reader to the narrative, with a student vocabulary section an added bonus. I do think children will like this story. A strong four stars for this creatively drawn novel.
A welcome breath of fresh air in the stale genre of Christmas stories, Santa Claus vs the Aliens is an original take on Santa Claus' origins, told in a lively style suitable for a middle grades audience and older readers alike. Santa Claus is not who you think he is! This book has a retro feel to it which gels well with the plot and subject matter. The action, especially in the latter half of the book, is well described and keeps the plot moving along nicely. There is a feel-good ending after some harrowing adventures, and the plot while straightforward has a few twists to keep things entertaining.
The best features of this book are the originality of the plot and the storytelling. But I feel there are elements which might put some readers off. The dialogue is done in accent, I felt a little too much. The reader's eye is taken in by apparent spelling errors which are meant to represent accent, for example, 'strolla' instead of 'stroller'. The use of the device of telling the story to the author's own children for me did not quite work, better perhaps to jump into the storytelling right away. And the author's use of long sentences, while a useful device to increase pace, felt overdone.
HOWEVER! A big however! For fun storytelling and originality, despite its flaws, I felt this book still rated 5 stars. Editing can be fixed. Originality is either there or it is absent. This book shines with freshness and I feel is a delightful addition to the canon of Christmas stories.
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for a non-reciprocal, honest review.
Boys who think they don't like to read will find this story appealing. It has humor, fart jokes, and reverent irreverence all rolled into one. The protagonist is 14 years old, but the story aims really at a slightly younger crowd.
A boy feels alienated by his divorced father's remarriage. He is being followed by mysterious beings. Santa Claus (is it really Santa?) kidnaps him. How is this going to resolve, especially since it's Christmas Eve? There are religious themes here, but they are handled gently. The nuns look like penguins to the boys. The manger scene reminds the boy of a Christmas pageant and the important words he memorized. Themes of alienation, sacrifice, and love unify the story.
As I read this book, it did seem aimed at maybe the 10-12 year old set, and was written with words they could easily follow but ... interspersed there were some words that were more challenging than you would expect for that age group. Aha! At the end of the book, there is a vocabulary list which lists these words, by chapter. Those who care can take the time to look them up and learn from them.
I would caution that this book is not for very young children. The aliens are not cute and fuzzy. They attack and hurt. Santa's sleigh is very cool, though!
Don’t be fooled, this has (thankfully!) nothing to do with the dreadful sci fi movie by a similar name. Santa Claus vs. the Aliens offers a creative new way to explain the Santa Claus myth for modern times.
In this story the members of the Cardona family pass on from generation to generation, we meet their ancestor Fundy, who has a strange late night encounter with what appears to be Santa Claus. He helps him free his weird looking sled. Santa mysteriously takes off, but leaves behind a strange looking ring that Fundy eventually passes on to his son Edwin.
The story continues with a disillusioned Edwin, who now lives at a children’s home. Wearing the ring, Edwin, one day, notices two alien looking creatures following him. In a desperate attempt to shake them off, he flees into Macy’s, where he encounters the strange Santa working the Christmas shift in the store. Edwin learns the true origin of Santa, the significance of the ring, and what he must do to overcome the aliens.
This was definitely one of the most creative children’s stories I’ve ever read, and a far more clever approach to explain the existence of Santa than the usual North Pole story! If I had heard this tale as a kid, I might have actually believed in him!
"Edwin convinced himself more and more as he thought about how the days events were becoming more and more impossible. “Yeah, that’s it. I got some kinda cold or flu or summin’ and I'm de-‐loosional. None of that stuff happened today. No, can’t be. That’s crazy tawk. To think I actually thought that that all really happened! Ha! Whatta dope I am!”"
If Santa had just saved me from these freakishly creepy guys who are following me all over NYC, I would totally think I was out of it too.
We meet Edwin at a children's home in NYC during 1954, Christmas Eve when he goes looking for a treasured family ring that he has "misplaced". This ring starts a whirlwind adventure full of life altering events for our young hero, who above most all wants his real family back.
I loved this middle school aged novel that put a new twist on Santa and his sleigh. Even though the setting is in the 1950's it will still speak to children in the here and now. Broken homes happen for children more so now than before so I suspect this novel will touch home with many of them. I love, love, love that our Lord and saviour was not forgotten in this holiday tale. Thanks for the good read!
As most of the reviewers here have stated - I received this in return for an honest review from the author. I also see that there are 2 versions, and I'm not sure which one I have, but as it stands I would certainly give this book at least 4 stars. I really enjoyed it, and I imagine that its target audience - middle school boys - would enjoy it too. If all I was rating was the story - and that is the most important part - I would probably give it 5 stars. I just kept pulling me along, and of course I liked the fact that it was a nice length, so I knew I wouldn't be strung along. The reason for the 4 star rating is that some of the writing seemed a bit awkward, but it didn't really stop my enjoyment of the story, and that is the main thing I read for, a good story. That it is indeed. Some very fun ideas and some good lessons that are just there without being pushed. I would highly recommend this to the target age group - or to folks like me that grew up enjoying fantasy and science fiction books. Keep up the good work Mr. Cardona.
The story was fast paced and quite very unique. This story takes place during the Depression Era, in the late 1930's when La Guardia, one of the most famous mayors of the United States, was king. (LaGuardia Airport, anyone?)
I enjoyed reading about the chase through the department store, all decked out for Christmas, and the harrowing escape through the elevator shaft. The book did have a 1930's - 1950's feel about it, and a New York one too at that.
There was so much action in this book, it was a bit hard to visualize this as a Christmas story, but hey, there's always a new twist on everything, n'est-ce pas?
Love the cover...!!!! Nice unique way to break away from these slick, yet sterile other book covers out there. Reminds me a bit of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid covers and its copycats.
I was asked if I would read, and give an honest review, of this book,by the author, James Cardona, and I agreed. I adore the madcap,books of Terry Pratchett, so I wanted to read it, Edwin is living in a childrens home run by penguins(nuns), and his prize possession is a very ugly ring,, given to him,by his father Fundy,, he came by it, from a very strange man,, after he,and his horse Paulo, him, get his transport going,, I loved reading this, it had me laughing out loud, the language, the Aliens use,is going to appeal to boys,, and girls alike, The background for Santa, is a wonderful idea, which really captures your imagination. A great book, to either read aloud, at bedtime, (for the little ones) or for older children to read, on the run up to Christmas, A great Christmas book, to give as a present, ,
This is an absolute gem of a story aimed at our 8 -10 yr olds, maybe even slightly older. It brings a wonderful slant to a timeless classic that seems to have always lived around Santa Claus and the gift of Christmas, bringing us closer to that Original Christmas. Amid the dashing through a city to escape strange people chasing him our hero discovers many things about himself that he has never thought about at all and he learns just how valuable family really is when he realises that only he can save his step sister and in doing so he joins the family for real. During the fight between himself, aliens and an alien Santa Claus our hero learns just how much difference loyalty and friendship can make and that family values are the real gifts that Christmas brings.
I cannot thank the author enough for giving me the opportunity to read and review this fabulous story.
Children's Christmas story set in the 1950s with a science fiction twist. It was a funny short Christmas book with funny moments; Based in New York with a 14 year old boy in a children's home. The story had funny moments with a child's look on things. It includes a bit of history of the 50s with a Spanish background. I was impressed how interesting, funny and heartwarming it was all together. With a family message at the end of the festive novel, it ended with lessons about religion and family. I recommend this to any young preteens (9 till 12 year olds) who love Science fiction but also a good old Christmas book.
I can see why this is a middle school book. But then again, so is ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar, and that book is a 5 star read.
Did I laugh? Yes. But did I also cringe at the grammar, spelling and sentence structure? Yes. Would many nine year old boys find this humour funny? Well, what nine year old doesn’t crack up when the word “fart” is said, never mind reading sentences like: “Buuurp! Fart! Fart! Buuurp! Fart! Fart! Fart!”, and “let us ask God to help, you say. And I agree. But then after we finish praying you pull out that stupid ring and try to call the flying-horse-cart and Farting Man”?
I really enjoyed this mash-up of a Christmas tale about a dysfunctional family coming together with science fiction with a darker edge. I liked the period and the setting of the book as well as the retro feel of the situations and the conflicts. The pace of the novel was brisk with events moving forward smoothly and the reader constantly engaged with new developments. The language used was simplified for the younger readers of the novel but I believe it can appeal to a wider audience due to the strength of the narrative.
This is such an interesting read. It will be a great read for boys especially around 14 years old.
Cardona spins a very clever story spanning a couple generations, but focusing on Edwin Cardona and how he is growing up and the adventures he faces. I won't give anything away, but it's very well written and boys of any age will enjoy. If you grew up in the 50s, you'll enjoy it too and it will bring you back in time a little.
It's got aliens and Santa...come on, it's just great! Highly recommended.
This books is very well written and older children/young adult will enjoy this if they like scifi books. I liked the main character Edwin and liked that the author told us the history about his dad and how the story all started. I thought the ending was very good and happy where Edwin finaly feels like he belongs somewhere a very good read. would recommend this for anyone who wants to read something abit different for Christmas time. I'm not usually into scifi but did enjoy this book.
This is a great sci-fi read for any adult, young or old, especially boys. It's got good guys, bad guys, not to mention aliens, and a most unlikely hero (or two). Cardona kept me guessing until the end whether Edwin and Santa would save the day!
Even though the timing of the story does take place around Christmas time, I would recommend this story for any day of the year!
I thought this was a sweet book. It's always nice to get a new perspective on familiar stories and Cardona dis that well. I really enjoyed the creepy aliens and I also enjoyed the Santa character but wished there was more of him in the story.
The author contacted me and sent me a copy of this book for an honest review.
Updated review: The author contacted me stating that he had revised the last two chapters of the book taking into consideration feedback he had already received. He sent me those two chapters. I would like to revise my earlier review and say that I would rate this book higher at a 4 star rating. The revised chapters brought tears to my eyes in multiple places. The author toned down the religious message and reworked it into the story in a much more subtle, yet effective way that felt more natural. As well, Santa played a much larger part in the end, such that the title of the book is now represented in the pages within versus the original version. The rewritten chapters were very nicely done and left me with the warm, fuzzy feeling I get each year at Christmas time.
Original review: I would give this a 3.5 out of 5 rating - it was entertaining and I think, would appeal to the young teen, male age group.
This book, although being short, took me a lot longer to get through than I thought. The speech used in the dialogue, intended as a New York accent, was a little distracting for me, although seems like it would be quite authentic for that part of the U.S. I very much enjoyed the back story for the Santa character and how he came to be. It was completely original and unlike the traditional story. Although, I didn't quite see how the 'Farting Man' part worked, other than that this is intended as crude humor that a young boy would appreciate. I felt that the title of the book - Santa Claus vs the Aliens - is a bit of a misnomer though as the real story is Edwin Cordona vs. the Aliens with Santa Claus featured in the rare appearance advisor role.
At the end of the story, there is the element of religion, when Edwin finds himself cornered in his father's home and the aliens are draining his memories/knowledge. I understand the message intended by this as a Christian (and agree with it), but unless I'm reading a book by my choosing that qualifies as Christian fiction I feel a bit frustrated with books like this. I felt this ending came a bit out of nowhere and I'm wondering if a young, male teen for which this book is targeted would appreciate the message.
Overall though, a very entertaining read with original ideas.
I finally got a chance to read this book and found it fun, lighthearted, and enjoyable to read. Thank you to James Cardona for sending me the e-book and trusting me to write an honest review. Loved the cover art-very creative! The text flows along pretty well, not too long or to wordy for a young or old reader. Kids should like the story, even though it is set in the year 1954, it kinda gives Santa a more modern twist. I don't think the references to 1954 or the great depression will defer kids from the story. They will be caught up in the story by the time this reference is added because I myself was already caught up in the story by then too. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Loved the reference to the boogin. Adds a touch of spooky to the story. I think this would be a great book for a parent or grandparent to purchase and read to their kids or grandkids. I don't know if our all inclusive holiday world would like the references to the birth of Christ at the end, but there are plenty of Christians out there who would like the way the book ends. This is a book that Book Stores should not just stick in the Children's section, but should highlight it as a book for parents or grandparents to buy. Of course, I think the adults should read it first just to add a little chuckle to break up the holiday stress. Now really, what kid in today's world would not love to hear how Santa wins over a group of evil, brain sucking aliens!?! Really enjoyed the story; keep on writing Mr. Cardona. I enjoy your books, you have a great imagination!!!!!
As a 22 year old i was surprised just how much I enjoyed this little book aimed at children aged 9-12.
Not to give too much away, this story starts by introducing the main character Edwin and then promptly jumps to the past to introduce his father Fundy and explain how he got involved with aliens. The rest of the story follows Edwin and how he gets caught in the middle of alien business. I do not want to write too much about what happens in this story because i wouldn't want to give anything away or do any discredit to the storyline but i must stress how much i enjoyed it.
This short story is packed with humour, action, adventure and a very subtle Christian message (not in any way preachy or overwhelming which i think is a good thing when writing a children's book). One thing i particularly liked was the fact that although the book was aimed at 9-12 year olds, the language used was not patronising or dumbed down which can sometimes happen in children's books. I think that a 9-12 year old reading this will feel intelligent and thoroughly enjoy the storyline.
I also really liked the fact that the characters shared the authors surname and also his fathers name (Edwin). I felt like this game the story, especially to young children, a possibility of realness.
I would defiantly recommend this book to not only children but also to adults who want a quick, fun read.
Yes, I was given the book by the author in exchange for an honest review, but these thoughts are honestly my own.
I am of the era that went to the theater to see Santa vs the Martians. From the title of this book, I was curious if it would have a similar theme. Not at all! This book has a fresh spin and is unlike any other Christmas or Santa book I have ever read.
I will try not to give spoilers, but while there are aliens trying to find Santa, Santa himself (as expected) is not exactly human. This Santa does fly a sleigh, but there are no elves slaving away in a North Pole workshop.
I did appreciate the reference to a famous poem by Clement Clarke Moore, and all the action that took place in the elevator shaft scene. PLUS the reference to pinball being banned. There was a time when I was somewhat pinball addicted.
Besides the wonderful story that James Cardona shares, I enjoyed his settings and descriptions. You feel as if you are amidst the holiday throngs, running from the strange men.
This book can be enjoyed for the simple story itself, or read deeper to find the message below, about faith and family. Everyone needs a place where they can feel they belong.
I'm a book lover (who isnt on this site) and a father of a young girl (4) so I quite often read childrens books and books for youths/young adults as well. I was given a copy of this one to check out and the title made me think of an old scifi that Mystery Science Theater covered "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians".
I enjoyed the book, my daughter liked it, but for her it was too long (I did point out she is 4) though I think my older Nephew might enjoy it more. I had been warned that it had a "Christian Message" but how can you avoid that with a Christmas themed book? well there is a fair bit of Christianity in it but it isnt obnoxious or preaching to convert.
The story works. The characters are fun and I might just get copies for my niece and nephews just before xmas.
(review was longer but I decided to delete out any spoilers or direct story specifics.. more fun for people to find out on their own!)
I will definitely be poking my local book store to get some of Mr Cardona's books in stock
Thank you to the author who sent me a free-copy of this book as part of the First Reads.
This book is a well written adventure story for children which I am sure most adults would enjoy too. The characters are well described and easy to imagine and this book would be an ideal choice as we approach the holiday season.