DeFelice, as always, infuses her mystery story with heart and grounds it in details, so Owen, the natural setting, and (most of all) his companionable dog come to life.
DeFelice’s compact, suspenseful novel features 12-year-old Owen McGuire during his first lonely summer in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where he and his father have just moved. He spends his days exploring the woods and deeply missing his mother, who died a year and a half earlier in a car accident, and with whom he shared a passionate belief in the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. So when he comes upon a strange girl named Cam with glittery green eyes, he is ready to believe her story of being an alien whose spaceship accidentally left without her. Swearing him to secrecy, Cam enlists his help in building a signal to direct her parents’ spaceship to her location, and tries to persuade him to leave with her. Well-drawn secondary characters create a threatening backdrop to the developing mystery, while Owen’s poignant relationship with his work-driven father elicits sympathy. The tension builds on several fronts to a gripping climax and satisfying conclusion. Owen’s likable voice, the plot’s quick pace and the science fiction overtones make this a winner. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
Gr 5–8—Twelve-year-old Owen McGuire is on his own during the summer after moving to New York's Finger Lakes region following his mother's death. His dad is a workaholic who uses his job to distance himself from his grief. Owen, a resourceful youngster, spends his days riding his bike and exploring the woods with his dog. One day, he finds some bloody clothing and sees someone running through the cornfield. Thus begins the connection between two lonely youngsters, and Owen becomes dedicated to helping Campion. She tells him that she is from another planet and that her parents will come for her in four days. All she has to do is make circles in the cornfield to signal her location so they can land the spaceship. Owen is skeptical, but then he begins to believe. He takes her food and helps her hide from the sinister-looking man who is searching for her, and to collect the materials to build the signal. The bond between the two intensifies, each relying on the other to fill the voids in their lives. DeFelice has created wonderfully fleshed out, believable, sympathetic characters in these youngsters and a story rich in understanding, pathos, and humor. Owen, Campion, and Owen's dad are all dealing with loss and betrayal in different ways. Campion's dream affects them all and leads to a promising, though a bit convenient, resolution. This is a beautifully written story of friendship, loyalty, and trust.—Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
At the end of the school year, 12-year-old Owen McGuire and his father moved from Buffalo to the rural Finger Lakes region, so Owen's spending the summer with only his dog Josie for a companion. Then he discovers Cam, a mysterious green-eyed girl, in an abandoned house in the woods. He only half believes her story of her extraterrestrial origins, but he helps her stay hidden from the Feds she says are looking for her and a frightening thug who's asking questions. Owen agrees to help Cam build a signal to help her people find her, and since his father remains busy at work, Owen decides to accompany Cam when she leaves. When the truth is revealed both Owen and Cam find their futures looking brighter. Owen's loneliness, his lingering feelings of loss over his dead mother and his relationship (or lack thereof) with his father are so realistically delineated that they anchor this otherwise slight mystery tale. Younger readers won't see the too-pat finale coming, but more sophisticated readers will not be fooled. Worthy but not vital. (Fiction. 9-12)
“A beautifully written story of friendship, loyalty, and trust.” School Library Journal, Starred Review
“DeFelice, as always, infuses her mystery story with heart and grounds it in details, so Owen, the natural setting, and (most of all) his companionable dog come to life.” The Horn Book
“Owen's likable voice, the plot's quick pace and the science fiction overtones make this a winner.” Publishers Weekly
“Owen's loneliness, his lingering feelings of loss over his dead mother and his relationship (or lack thereof) with his father are so realistically delineated.” Kirkus Reviews