The True Meaning of Smekday

The True Meaning of Smekday

4.7 36
by Adam Rex
     
 

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It all starts with a school essay.

When twelve-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,

Overview

It all starts with a school essay.

When twelve-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 the 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 rocketpod?

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.

Fully illustrated with "photos," drawings, newspaper clippings, and comic sequences, this is a hilarious, perceptive, genre-bending novel by a remarkable new talent.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Who knew the end of the world could be so hilarious? With a misfit cast of characters led by a precocious 11-year-old narrator named Gratuity "Tip" Tucci and a bumbling alien named J.Lo who has an appetite for dental floss and air fresheners, Rex's high-octane fantasy could fairly be called an apocalyptic comedy. After the Boov (technologically advanced aliens) conquer Earth (or Smekland, as they call it, after its discoverer), they decide that humans must live on preserves; all Americans must move to Florida. Tip, driving her mother's car with her cat Pig for a passenger, meets the unexpectedly helpful Boov J.Lo, who, she later discovers, has bungled a mission and is on the lam. Parallels between the Boov and European settlers and their treatment of Native Americans deepen the impact of the story, but the author goes well beyond delivering a single political message. Incorporating dozens of his weird and wonderful illustrations and fruitfully manipulating the narrative structure, Rex skewers any number of subjects, from Disney World to various fleeting fads. Some of the best jokes come from throwaways and from J.Lo's and Tip's attempts to understand each other (when Tip asks if his society has boys and girls, he says, "Of course. Do not to be ridicumulous," and calmly lists the "seven magnificent genders" of the Boov). Picture book aficionados will already know Rex from Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Pssst! (reviewed Sept. 10); now another audience can savor his wit. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)—PW
Lisa Von Drasek
Parents want to know what I do as a librarian to get their kids to try something new. And the truth is—nothing. There is not much I can do, except wait along with them for The Book: a story so original, so absorbing and so laugh-out-loud funny that the minute I read the last page, I want to start at the beginning again. The True Meaning of Smekday is that book…This first novel by Adam Rex will captivate fans of the wordplay and characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld and of the outrageously entertaining satire of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy…Although it's a book for children, adults will find this page turner, really a satire about the conquering of foreign cultures, entertaining as well. Its pacing and cadence make it a perfect story for reading aloud, and it's almost impossible to resist sharing great lines with people nearby.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Who knew the end of the world could be so hilarious? With a misfit cast of characters led by a precocious 11-year-old narrator named Gratuity "Tip" Tucci and a bumbling alien named J.Lo who has an appetite for dental floss and air fresheners, Rex's high-octane fantasy could fairly be called an apocalyptic comedy. After the Boov (technologically advanced aliens) conquer Earth (or Smekland, as they call it, after its discoverer), they decide that humans must live on preserves; all Americans must move to Florida. Tip, driving her mother's car with her cat Pig for a passenger, meets the unexpectedly helpful Boov J.Lo, who, she later discovers, has bungled a mission and is on the lam. Parallels between the Boov and European settlers and their treatment of Native Americans deepen the impact of the story, but the author goes well beyond delivering a single political message. Incorporating dozens of his weird and wonderful illustrations and fruitfully manipulating the narrative structure, Rex skewers any number of subjects, from Disney World to various fleeting fads. Some of the best jokes come from throwaways and from J.Lo's and Tip's attempts to understand each other (when Tip asks if his society has boys and girls, he says, "Of course. Do not to be ridicumulous," and calmly lists the "seven magnificent genders" of the Boov). Picture book aficionados will already know Rex from Frankenstein Makes a Sandwichand Pssst! (reviewed Sept. 10); now another audience can savor his wit. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
Presented in the form of essays written for a time capsule contest, this novel unveils the story of Gratuity (Tip) Tucci, her friend J.Lo the alien Boov, her cat Pig, and their adventures as Tip tries to reunite with her mother after not one but two alien invasions of earth. Tip is a wonderful narrator, both warm and humorous, and J.Lo, the helpful Boov who befriends Tip on her trip to Florida, is a great cartoonist whose comic touches throughout the book add another dimension to the story of the Boov and their need to take over other planets (but in the most friendly way possible); however, when the Gorg, another alien nation are made aware of Earth by an inadvertent transmission from J.Lo, they invade Earth, and Tip and J.Lo find themselves on the road to Arizona--the “new” United States of America--where all of the human population is expected to go if they want to continue to live. Along the way, Tip and J.Lo meet an amazing cast of characters who ultimately help them as they create a resistance force to combat the Gorg (who are much meaner than the Boov). This story moves quickly and, as noted earlier, with great humor, not only in the verbal interactions of characters but also in the wonderful graphic sections found throughout the novel. The nods to Area 51 and Roswell, New Mexico are necessary and hilarious, and the Arizona piece of the story is well-researched. I highly recommend this book for readers looking for fun mixed in with their science fiction. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 4-8 Where does one begin when asked to write a five-page essay on the meaning of Smekday? If you are 11-year-old Gratuity Tucci, you begin prior to the arrival of the aliens, before your mother started receiving cryptic messages through a mole in the back of her neck, and before all Americans are forced to move to reservations in Florida to make room for the influx of an alien race known as the Boov. In a rebellious snit, Tip decides to drive her mother's car to Florida, rather than take the Boov rocketpods, and finds herself caught up in a most outlandish road trip with her cat, Pig, and her very own renegade Boov, J.Lo, for company. First-time novelist Rex has written an imaginative, wacky, hilarious sci-fi story that will appeal to fans of Eoin Colfer and Jon Scieszka. Lively cartoon-paneled illustrations are interspersed throughout and add to the fun. This is a fast-paced adventure with a whip-smart protagonist, a lovable and resourceful extraterrestrial, and plenty of social commentary.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Kirkus Reviews
Gratuity Tucci ("Tip" for short) has a problem. Aliens have invaded Earth, stolen her mother, and now she and the rest of humanity are being shunted onto small reservations while the invaders (the Boov) take over the rest of the planet. In avoiding this plan, via her family car, Tip runs across J.Lo, a renegade Boov with problems of his own. Together, girl and alien attempt to locate Tip's mother only to discover that an even greater alien threat is imminent. It's up to the two heroes to defeat the invaders, Boov and otherwise, and save the day. The humor in this story is undeniably unique, containing a skewed worldview that children will certainly enjoy. Yet while the first half of the book is an entirely funny road trip of the Kerouac-meets-E.T. variety, the second half slows down considerably. Rex has such a nice grasp of small tender moments amidst a world gone haywire, it's a pity the book wasn't pared down significantly. Inspired but problematic. (Fiction. 11-15)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786849017
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
05/05/2009
Series:
Smek Smeries Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
1,171,392
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Adam Rex is the New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich. His other books include Pssst!, Moonday, The True Meaning of Smekday, Fat Vampire, and Cold Cereal. He also illustrated the Brixton Brothers series, Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem, and Chloe and the Lion, all by Mac Barnett and Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit him at adamrex.com or follow him on Twitter @MrAdamRex.

Adam Rex is the New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich. His other books include Pssst!, Moonday, The True Meaning of Smekday, Fat Vampire, and Cold Cereal. He also illustrated the Brixton Brothers series, Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem, and Chloe and the Lion, all by Mac Barnett and Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit him at adamrex.com or follow him on Twitter @MrAdamRex.

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True Meaning of Smekday 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Kaileywailey More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It grabbed me from the second I started reading, and refused to let me put it down. Had I known much about it before I started reading I probably would have passed it by... so glad I didn't.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How can one not love this book? Unless you are a poomp. That's all I can say withoutleaving multiple posts for one review! ;D - Aliceon
huckfinn37 More than 1 year ago
I love this book and I am not a huge alien fan. This book is funny and sad at the same time. I love the main characters, J. Lo. and Tip. They work well together because they are both creative. The story is fresh and the illustrations are fanstastic. I am happy that there will be a movie based on True Meaning of Smeakday next year. I am also glad that Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, will voice J. Lo. Great book, can't wait to see the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very exciting and i love it i hope that everyone that reads it enjoys it immensely some parts of it are scary and sad but mostly it was a good book good for reading good for learning altogether a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a tremendously quotable book that still gets many daily references in our household. It is aimed at a slightly older youth audience, as there are some challenging situations and a little bit of off-color language, but at the right target, this is an amazing book. Gratuity, as you can tell from her name, is an unusal character, and even more unusual but equally likable is the alien JLo. The book has a strong female protagonist, which is a great thing to find, and other positive role models for relationships, building trust, for sticking to goals, and thinking creatively. I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous 12 months ago
I really liked the movie,the music was really good too,but I wonder if the allians look the same.......oh well,i really want to by it!hope its good! And to FRee IPAD please stop it its starting to get o.n my nerves...... -ZaneMasterOfIce739********:D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The movie home is based on this book!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny...poignant..freaking hilarious. .pardon my langauge ;-) ... and probably the best book I have ever read! !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my num. One fave book!!!!!! I luv it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is very good and very funny. I would read it if you are looking for something slightly differant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is both ridiculously awesome and awesonely ridiculous. It's very funny and follows the adventures of a girl, her cat and an alien named J.Lo as they cross the country in seatch of her moher after an alien invasion. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dreamworks is making a movie based on this book called "Happy Smekday!". It realeases in 2014.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
cbbookworm1997 More than 1 year ago
this book was interesting. I thought j.lo was hilarious and that gratuity was fine. The end of the book where u find out about daniel landry and her mom being a very important person was kind of irrelivant. Who really cares! i really thought that gratuitys mom was boring, and daniel landry just didnt make sense at all. I did think though that the gorg were obviously bad and that all the adults were stupid as anything. I would read a sequel of this book but if it became a series i wouldnt waste my time.
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From-the-Qwill-Pen More than 1 year ago
I am 11and I absolutly love this book!!! The way it is written is absoultly uniquie with a new view-point. I heavily recommend this book to a(. people who think the world will end in 2012. b(. to sci-fi fans... WARNING TO CAT LOVERS!!!! IN SEVERAL CASES IN THIS BOOK CATS ARE A(. KIDNAPPED BY ALIENS. B(. THEY ARE OBLIVIATED BY RAY GUNS. C(. THE BOOK MENTIONS:EATING CATS, THROWING CATS INTO OUTER SPACE AND, THE KIDNAPPING OF ALL THE CATS IN THE WORLD!!! Anyway I believe the "Common Sense Rating" is waayyy to strict! Happy Mouse Kingdom is a lot like Walt Disney World. I highley recommend the book!
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