Alien Feast: Incidents from the Life of William Yost

Overview

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MEETS DOUGLAS ADAMS as two kids and one old man prepare to save the world.

Things are getting better with the alien invasion. Sure it’s still not too uncommon to come home and find your step-parents reduced to a pile of unsavory feet—but at least now with the disease killing the aliens off, you have a relatively decent chance of making it through a day without getting mostly eaten. William knows this first-hand, having lost both his step-parents, but when ...

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Overview

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS MEETS DOUGLAS ADAMS as two kids and one old man prepare to save the world.

Things are getting better with the alien invasion. Sure it’s still not too uncommon to come home and find your step-parents reduced to a pile of unsavory feet—but at least now with the disease killing the aliens off, you have a relatively decent chance of making it through a day without getting mostly eaten. William knows this first-hand, having lost both his step-parents, but when the aliens kidnap his long-time crush Sophie’s scientist parents (and the government won’t help) it’s up to William, Sophie, and William’s bizarre Uncle Maynard to save them…and perhaps the rest of the world while they are at it. A hysterically twisted adventure that will knock your feet off!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Reluctant readers and juvenile SF buffs will look forward to more from this author.” —VOYA

“Complete with dandy special effects and no small measure of wish fulfillment . . . just in time for summer reading.” Horn Book

“The out-of-this-world story will appeal to young readers, who will look forward to the second installment.” —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The aliens that have landed in the town of Willoughby are mean and ugly-and they eat people (everything except their feet)-in this opening volume in Simmons's (Vandal) Chronicles of the First Invasion series. Twelve-year-old William Aitkin "didn't particularly mind" when the aliens ate his stepparents-after all, they weren't very nice to him and they "despised his violin playing" (he dreams of being a famous violinist). William is on his way to visit his eccentric Uncle Maynard, however, when he discovers that the parents of his crush, Sophie, have been kidnapped by the aliens, possibly to help cure a killer virus that stands between them and world conquest. Worse still, the mayor seems to be in cahoots with the invaders. Soon William, Sophie and Uncle Maynard are off to the mayor's country estate in a desperate bid to rescue Sophie's parents. Fortunately for them, "aliens are not quite as smart as you'd think." With its fair share of ray-gun battles, hairbreadth escapes and mild gross-out moments-often involving detached human feet-this lightweight tale is enjoyable and, at times, genuinely funny. Ages 8-12. (May)

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Children's Literature - Paula Rohrlick
The year is 2017, and hungry aliens have recently invaded the Earth. When 12-year-old William arrives home and discover his stepparents have been eaten by the big, green, greedy creatures, he decides it is a good idea to leave right away, and he takes off in the family car for his Uncle Maynard's house. On the way, William picks up his classmate Sophie, whose scientist parents have just been kidnapped. The aliens have started to succumb to a disease, and they hope that Sophie's parents can find a cure. William, Sophie and eccentric Uncle Maynard head out to rescue Sophie's parents, engage in a gun battle with the aliens, and struggle with the wily town mayor, who is colluding with the aliens. A tragedy leaves William feeling even more alone in the world, and determined to track down his far-off older brother—setting the stage for Book Two of "Chronicles of the First Invasion." The boy-vs.-aliens premise will appeal to readers, as will the suspenseful action sequences, the humorous touches, and the occasional icky details (the aliens consume all of their victims except their feet, for example). The characters are fully fleshed out, from quiet, violin-playing William to sarcastic, self-possessed Sophie and elderly but game Uncle Maynard, and young readers will believe in their bond, even if the author does much more telling than showing throughout the novel (the third-person narration adds to this problem) and the pacing is uneven. Black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
VOYA - Kevin Beach
The year is 2017. Carnivorous aliens have invaded Earth. A British lad, William, is sent on a somewhat dangerous outing to the corner store and returns home to discover his mean stepparents were eaten while he was out, which prompts him to seek out his eccentric Uncle Maynard who always has a plan. Thus begins an adventure in which they are joined by his best friend at school, Sophie, whose parents have been kidnapped by the aliens. Sophie's parents are doctors, and the aliens are falling ill due to bacteria a la War of the Worlds. Things come to a head when the feisty crew invades the mayor's summer estate to discover many secrets and some shady dealings. The underlying humor of the story is reminiscent of the droll British humor of Roald Dahl or Douglas Adams but on a more subdued, juvenile level. The plot unfolds in a rather matter-of-fact manner, with little dialogue and not enough interaction with the aliens. But there are some exciting plot twists and more than one instance of good fortune. Although William learns to accept responsibility and he and Sophie begin developing a relationship, in the end he chooses to seek out a missing older brother rather than flee to safety with her family, opening up the plot for its next installment. Reluctant readers and juvenile SF buffs will look forward to more from this author who is known for his grittier novels Vandal (Roaring Brook, 2006/VOYA August 2006) and Pool Boy (2003/VOYA June 2003). Reviewer: Kevin Beach
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

The year is 2017. Aliens have just eaten both of 12-year-old William's stepparents, and he is left to fend for himself in the midst of an invasion. Fortunately, he is able to find his secret crush, Sophie, whose parents have only been abducted. With the help of his Uncle Maynard, they come up with a rescue plan. The youngsters are nicely developed, and, refreshingly, they act as you'd expect kids to behave in such a stressful situation, not like miniature adults. O'Connor's artwork adds to the humor. While the illustration of severed feet on the cover may put some readers off, it does a great job of setting the tone of the book as a send-up of old-time alien-invasion films. Simmons has a light touch, and readers will laugh through his explanation of how William came to be living with two stepparents and the aversion aliens have to eating human feet. The self-awareness of the narrator makes the opening chapters evocative of Lemony Snicket's work. Given that the novel begins in such a humorous vein, the poignant ending may come as a bit of a surprise. Alien Feast will leave readers waiting eagerly for the next installment. This title will be popular with fans of Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday (Hyperion, 2007) and those who have outgrown Dan Greenburg's "Secrets of Dripping Fang" books (Harcourt).-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Kirkus Reviews
On Sept. 29, 2017, William Aitkin's step-parents were eaten by aliens, a fate suffered by many during the First Invasion. These space creatures were not super-geniuses intent on some well-orchestrated mission to take over Earth; they were more like "a rabble of alien teenage delinquents" who had stolen spaceships and somehow mastered space travel and made it to Earth, where they gobbled up much of the population, except for victims' feet (they don't like feet). William teams up with his Uncle Maynard and Sophie, whose scientist parents have been abducted by the invaders, to take a stand. Though the third-person narration contains Simmons's characteristically understated humor, it reads like a report, with little dialogue and many missed opportunities for exciting plotting. Still, the out-of-this-world story will appeal to young readers, who will look forward to the second installment. (Science fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596432819
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Series: Chronicles of the First Invasion Series , #1
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,148,117
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Simmons is the author of four previous novels: Pool Boy, Vandal, Finding Lubchenko, and The Rise of Lubchenko. He lives in New York, New York.

 

George O’Connor is an author, illustrator and cartoonist. His first graphic novel, Journey Into Mohawk Country, used as its sole text the actual historical journal of the seventeenth-century Dutch trader Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, and told the true story of how New York almost wasn’t. He followed that up with Ball Peen Hammer, the first graphic novel written by playwright Adam Rapp, a dark, dystopian view of a society’s collapse. Now he has brought his attention to Olympians, an ongoing series retelling the classic Greek myths in comics form. In addition to his graphic novel career, O’Connor has published several children’s picture books, including the New York Times best-selling Kapow, Sally and the Some-Thing, and Uncle Bigfoot. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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