We're Not From Here. Geoff Rodkey. 2019. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
First sentence: The first time I heard anything about the Planet Choom, we'd been on Mars for almost a year.
Premise/plot: Humanity's only chance for survival depends on one family (and only one family) making a good impression.
Twenty years before their ship's arrival to the planet (Choom), they'd been invited by the three (or is it four?) races cohabiting the planet. (One original species--several refugee races.) But the political landscape has changed, and, well, now "everyone agrees" that the humans are no longer welcome. After much begging, pleading, coaxing, smooth talking, negotiating--they (the Zhuri) decide one family may come down to the surface. "Everyone agrees" it's probably hopeless, but, for Lan, his older sister, and his two parents, well, they have hope--what is the alternative????
The parents play negligible roles in this middle grade science fiction novel. So essentially the human race depends on a music-loving teen girl (Ila) and a comedy loving narrator, Lan. (It is written in first person.)
As these two begin school, everyone watches and waits...
My thoughts: It was an interesting read I suppose. The world building was nice. I thought the idea of EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS being expressed (only) as smells was unique. As was the hive mentality (though that isn't unique to this science fiction story. Aliens do tend to have hive mentality in science fiction novels.) A doughnut smell means LAUGHTER. I think a gasoline smell means fear? or is it anger? Anyway--not good!
Where this book loses me--as an adult reader--is the slapstick comedy of it. Humanity is saved thanks to VIDEOS of people falling down, getting hit in their private parts, barfing, etc. Music does play into the saving of humanity as well--which was nice.
I think it has a certain appeal for its intended audience--kids (upper elementary, middle school).
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