It all starts with a school essay.
When eleven-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, 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 spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens – called Boov – abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it “Smekland” (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocket pod?
In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuity’s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.
The story starts out as Tip’s essay entire for the National Time Capsule and turns into a full autobiography about her Boov/Gorg invasion experience. Let me just say that this is an ingenious way to tell this story.
This is one story that has to be listened to on audio. The main reason being that it’s read by Bahni Turpin, a woman who makes every story she narrates better with her many voice ranges. Although it’s hard to listen to the audiobook because there are so many outrageous things going on in the story that when you hear one thing you’re like “Wait what?!” and by the time you’ve processed what was just said, the story has gone on without you. I recommend reading along with the audio using the physical book, plus you can see the photographs, comic sequences and other fun illustrations. That way you get the full experience.
As you may know, the movie ‘Home’ was based off this book. Well…not really. The book and the movie are completely different. DreamWorks kept Gratuity/Tip’s name and the names of the alien races, Boov and Gorg, but changed everything else. They even changed the best thing in the story: J. Lo’s name. It was changed to Oh. DreamWorks did manage to get Jennifer Lopez a.k.a. J.Lo to voice Tip’s mother in the movie so I guess that’s something.
The humans reaction to the alien invasion is exactly how you’d expect humans to react: chaotic. Some people try to bring order, but those people are outnumbered by the people off their rocker.
Full of adventure and humor that everyone can enjoy, this is the perfect book for kids and parents to read/listen to together. And for those of you who are wondering what kind of name is, ‘Gratuity’, it’s actually not a real name. A gratuity is a tip given to a waiter or taxicab driver, which explains the nickname ‘Tip’.
This weeks’ Weird but True Facts about Aliens
You can buy insurance that covers alien abductions.