Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Ronald L. Smith
Publisher: Clarion Books
Simon loves aliens and anything fantasy related, something that hasn’t always endeared him to his father. When they go on a camping trip, Simon blacks out in the forest and wakes up with a new scar on his stomach. Simon knows it was the Grays, an alien race that abducted him. His parents have him meet with a therapist, but Simon knows what he saw. The Grays come visit him again with bad news concerning Earth. Between battling bullies at school and the disappointment of his parents, Simon has to get to the bottom of what is going on and why he was chosen by the Grays.
This is truly a delicious read. Ronald L. Smith writes in a unique way sure to keep you on your toes. He cleverly implements the fantasy novel that Simon is writing to provide insight into Simon’s own thought process. Even while transitioning through Simon’s novel, his research, and the actual events taking place, the story moves smoothly through each scene, and the attention to scenery has just the right balance. The point of view is from Simon’s perspective, which creates tension as readers are torn between believing Simon or his parents’ more realistic explanation. As it takes place on an Air Force base, there is a unique feel as different rules are mentioned and protocols, making it feel extremely realistic. Simon is also biracial, something that allows for beneficial conversations about race and how people should react to racism. The ending leaves plenty of room for another book, but it sadly has an additional chapter 100 years later that wraps things up a little too nicely.
*Contains mild language, mild violence, and mild substance abuse.