See You in the Cosmos

Written by Jack Cheng

Alex, age eleven, is left mostly to his own devices, and he’s making the most of it. He has adopted a dog and named him Carl Sagan. He is building a model rocket. He is recording podcasts on an iPod. He is scheduling a solo bus ride across state lines to the Southwest High Altitude Rocket Festival. Alex will install his iPod within his model rocket and send it into space at the rocket festival, a 21st century update to Voyager’s golden record. Alex’s podcasts are not for sharing online, but for an intended audience of extraterrestrials.

Told entirely via transcripts of Alex’s audio recordings for aliens, this is a quirky tale of a young man with an unstable home life reaching out to the world and the universe in an attempt to find connections and share his own positivity. Through his and others failed attempts he learns much of the harshness of the world, but gathers into his orbit an unlikely and wonderfully flawed constellation of family and friends who ultimately help him in surprising ways.

This novel has the vibe of a quirky, heartwarming indie flick, or a more middle-grade-friendly John Green. It feels unique in children’s fiction for telling the story of a child character who finds himself in an adult world interacting almost exclusively with adults. Recommended for fans of contemporary stories with unique narrative voices, road trip stories, and stories of kids figuring things out on their own.

Possible read-alikes include Wonder, The Honest Truth, and Ms. Bixby’s Last Day.

Review by Joshua Whiting, Library Program, Educational Technology Dept. Media Center
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 5+

See You in the Cosmos
Written by Jack Cheng
Dial Books for Young Readers
314 pages
Release Date: February 28, 2017
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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