The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Kevin Emerson
Hardcover, 432 pages
Ages: Upper middle grade
Grades: 3 and up
Published: Feb. 26, 2013 by Walden Pond Press
Two kids from opposite sides of the country find themselves on a road trip to save the world from an impending alien attack - and bolster their middle-school transcripts in the process.
First came the missing people, missing time events, and untraceable radio signals. Then came Juliette, Arizona, a town that simply disappeared from existence. Suffice it to say, something strange is going on. Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids from opposite sides of the country who both think they can prove that these unexplained phenomena have a very real cause: aliens, and they are about to discover that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial life are one-hundred-percent accurate.
Having each been awarded a Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation dedicated to proving aliens have visited earth), Haley and Dodger and their families each set off on a cross-country road trip over summer vacation to figure out what is happening in towns across America. They soon realize that the answers to many of their questions lie in the vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone, or something, is doing everything in its power to ensure they never reach it. If Haley and Dodger don't act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as we know it may change for the worse.
This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.
This is a fun but yet slightly scary (you know, aliens, YIKES!) upper middle grade book about Haley and Dodger. Haley and Dodger live on opposite sides of the country and don't know each other, but they were both selected for the Fellowship for Alien Detection due to their accumulation of evidence they have already gathered to the evidence of aliens. The story starts with Haley and her family as they set out for Haley to interview people who have had 'missing time' or are connected to things that may be extraterrestrial in nature. One of these such people is the sister to Suza, who has gone missing after a night where people have 16 missing minutes. Right on the start of the trip it's pretty obvious that Haley is definitely onto something and it's not long before she's told to 'go home', cause it's just too dangerous. Of course Haley can't do that, she has to get to the bottom of this!
About halfway through we start getting Dodgers story. Dodger has always felt different from everyone else. He doesn't really connect with anyone and doesn't have friends. But he does have this radio station that sometimes plays in his head that is coming from the town of Juliette. Dodger isn't sure if he's crazy or if Juliette is real (it's not on maps) but he sets out with his father to find out. Right away he starts to realize that this Juliette seems to be a real place, now he just has to find it.
I really liked Haley and Dodger both. They both have distinct personalities even if Dodger is use to 'dodging' people and sticks to his own little world. Haley is a determined 'reporter' who doesn't let anything stand in her way, and Dodger doesn't have anything to lose and has been drawn to Juliette far too long to not pursue this. While they were together a fairly short amount of time in the book, they did seem to compliment each others personality since they are both so different, but yet have this thing in common.
The whole alien thing is actually kind of scary. Maybe I watch too much television about UFO sightings and stuff, but I do believe that aliens exist, and this whole concept wasn't so out there as you might think. Some of it may be a bit extreme, but for a large chunk of the book it's pretty easy to imagine that it's real.
I really liked figuring out where things might go and what the heck is going on. It was pretty hard to put the book down, but it is a long one and took me two days rather then the one day it usually takes. Haley and Dodger are in 8th grade so this is a book the more mature middle grade readers may enjoy. However there's not any inappropriate content for the younger readers. There's no romance to speak of, other than approximately two quick thoughts of "he/she is cute". Nothing to even really be noteworthy of. This is also a book that would be appealing for boy and girl readers equally.
Definitely a fun read and I very highly recommend it!
Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at http://www.candacesbookblog.com, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.