Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Little green men at the Mercury inn by Greg Leitich Smith
This is a cool little book that I stumbled upon (I think it was in the new book cart at work) and I was glad that I did read it. Aliens walk among us is the overarching theme of this book which details the adventures one summer of a twelve year old Aidan who lives in a motel that his parents own. The motel is open to the public but also has its share of long term residents. Cocoa Beach is in close proximity to and the hotel occupancy rate increases whenever there is a rocket launch as curious folk want to see the goings on. Neeedless to say Aidan has seen a lot of weird things and if you ask him some of the motel guests are as weird as any extra terrestrial!
In real life we often have that one friend who pushes us to do things we otherwise might not do (for better or for worse) or who introduces us to things that were hitherto unknown to us. In this book Aidan has a friend called Louis who is differently-abled as the result of a terrible accident. He wears a bionic prosthetic, is convinced that aliens exist, he thinks that the government has been covering up alien activity and he even convinces Aidan to wear a special bracelet during the rocket launch so that aliens won't abduct him. When a coast wide blackout occurs that disables all communication in the area for a brief spell even Aidan starts believing.
After the blackout things start getting weirder at the motel and the goings on bring a scientist, a persistent news reporter and some other characters to the motel. A new friend that the kids meet needs help and they themselves are aided by the most unexpected character in the book. There were wild shenanigans (as is often the case when little green men are involved) but I couldn't help wondering how come Aidan's parents gave him all that freedom.
I must say that I suspected how the book would turn out but was still pleasantly surprised at the end. This is a cool book about friendship, about overcoming obstacles and about being open to different possibilities. The laid back first person viewpoint makes it accessible to a wide variety of readers. I recommend it for readers aged 9-12.
You can see this review and many others on my website here.