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The True Meaning of Smekday (Smek #1)

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  7,566 Ratings  ·  1,561 Reviews
It all starts with a school essay.

Twelve-year-old Gratuity "Tip" Tucci is assigned to write five pages on "The True Meaning of Smekday" for the National Time Capsule contest, and 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 space
Audiobook, 423 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published October 2nd 2007)
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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.
Chloe Jane The movie Home, is very very loosely based off the book.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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 sma
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
Jun 18, 2017 Lata rated it it was amazing
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 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2011 Terence 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
"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
Oct 19, 2010 Shep rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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.
Oct 22, 2009 Trin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, ya, american-lit
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
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
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?
Rachel Brown
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
"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
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
Yelania Nightwalker

Solicité este libro para reseña porque (y sonará un poco superfluo) me encantó la portada, lo cual me hizo leer la sinopsis y desear leerlo. Lo inicié y me estaba encantando así que fui al cine a ver Home, la película y la amé, reí y casi lloré y me la viví intentando hablar como el Buv :D Lo sé, es raro, a mi edad, pero me encantó como no se imaginan, de modo que tomé el libro de nuevo y lo terminé rapidísimo. ¿Y saben qué? La película y el libro son completamente diferentes.

Empecemos con Ti

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
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
Jun 13, 2016 R.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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
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
Jan 07, 2015 thefourthvine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, ya, favorites
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
~♥~ happinesslife

El libro es muy gracioso, tiene momentos de lo más surrealista y extraños, además Buv es una monada y su forma de hablar junto con sus ocurrencias y errores me hacían reír mucho.

El final me ha sorprendido, sobretodo la viñeta, este autor tiene un toque único. Asique lo recomiendo mucho.

Una aventura llena de momentos graciosos y una gran compañía. Acompaña a estos peculiares personajes en su lucha contra los otros extraterrestres invasores.
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 Sean Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.)
Jun 11, 2009 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, jenns, mainstream-us
I love this book!

Here's the deal: the Boov invade earth. The tell humans that they all have to move to certain parts of Earth so that the Boov can have the rest (Americans get to move to Florida) and they sign treaties to show they're serious about their promises. Only they end up liking Florida, so all the Americans have to move to Arizona. The Boov reckon humans can have that forever. Maybe.

(A children's book with an allegory for the colonization of Native lands? Be still my heart!)

Amid all t
Timothy Reeves
Nov 16, 2012 Timothy Reeves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truthfully loved this book! It only took me two days to read this novel. I could not put it down. I would recommend this book for readers age ten through fifteen. The genre of this book is science fiction, but is unlike other novels that have futuristic machines and laser guns. Adam Rex illustrates and writes this book amazingly. He included comics and pictures that really gave the books a new perspective and depth. The only disappointment with “Smekday” was the story line was hard to follow. ...more
Fun and tasty! Like eating popcorn, and now and then crunching on something hard, not cracking-teeth hard, but stop-and-make-you-think-hard.
This is my favorite road-trip-with-aliens adventure (and I've read a few). If you were about to pick up Going Bovine, put that honker down (gently, it's heavy) and read this instead. This also gets an A+ for consistent and amusing fictional dialect, a winner for language buffs and fans of The Phantom Tollbooth. And congrats to you for the Iowa Children's Ch
Oct 18, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Teen Book Club selection
Gratuity "Tip" Tucci has been assigned to write an essay called, "The True Meaning of Smekday," with the winning essay to be placed in a time capsule. What is Smekday? That is the day the aliens called Boovs arrived and renamed Christmas after their leader, Smek. That was also the night Tip's mother was abducted by the Boov.

Tip writes about how, 6 months after the first Smekday, all humans were asked to relocate to Florida. Being 11 years old and alone (except for her cat Pig), Tip decides to d
May 24, 2010 Raina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I think about this book, I keep coming back to the word "originality." It's hard to define. It's difficult to put this book in a box. It stars a twelve-year-old, but the humor is way above elementary level. It's an episodic road trip book about an alien invasion and the nature of family. There is satire and there is slapstick.

There is so much going on in this book. I love that Adam Rex made the whole package. The illustrations, the text, even the dang cover.

I love the theme of chosen fami
Rene Saller
Feb 29, 2016 Rene Saller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to the brilliant but surely not infallible James Wood, I've started to feel self-conscious about reading books for kids (or even young adults). I made an exception for this audiobook, though, because I recently gave the book to an 11-year-old friend, and I wanted to be able to talk about it with her if she reads it. I hope she does, because I can't imagine a better literary role model for her than Gratuity "Tip" Tucci, a brown girl who saves the human race with the help of her cat, Pig, a ...more
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The True Meaning of Smekday 1 6 Jul 16, 2015 05:00PM  
Movie Adaptation? 4 31 Feb 03, 2015 10:14AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Book #48: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex 1 1 May 10, 2013 08:25PM  
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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
More about Adam Rex...

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Smek (2 books)
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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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