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Stuck on earth

by David Klass


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 5-9-On a mission to evaluate Earth and determine whether or not its dominate species (Homo sapiens) will be allowed to continue or will be exterminated (quickly and painlessly, of course) so a more deserving race can have the planet, Ketchvar III, a snail-like superintelligent being inhabits the body of a 14-year-old boy so he can experience human existence up close and personal. Horrified by his host's dysfunctional family, incarceration in a mind-numbing environment (high school), and the bullying of other students, Ketchvar has nearly written off humans for good when he meets the girl next door. Humorous misunderstandings and poignant moments with his host's alcoholic father and bitter mother save this from being just another "people have ruined the planet; let's get rid of them and start over" book. Ketchvar's social gaffs and misconceptions provide some laugh-out-loud moments as do his internal dialogues with his reluctant host. Though no new ground is broken, Stuck on Earth will resonate with kids who feel like aliens in their own homes.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

When an alien snail named Ketchvar III takes over 14-year-old Tom Filber's body, he tends to agree with Galactic Confederation ethicists that "we owe it to weak and vulnerable Homo sapiens to euthanize the species" before humans destroy the environment and themselves. But even though he suffers high school at its worst, he is inspired by some people he meets-a lonely neighbor; his passionate environmental club adviser-and begins drawing another conclusion. Ketchvar's cerebral narration is the book's hallmark ("My new theory is that school serves the purpose of narrowing the horizons of young Homo sapiens and conditioning them to accept mediocrity"); it becomes increasingly moving as the question arises of whether Ketchvar is real or if this is a construct Tom uses to deal with his disintegrating home life and general unhappiness. The narrator's well-timed surveillance of a polluting paint factory is too convenient, but Klass's (the Caretaker Trilogy) thoughtful, often wrenching book offers plenty to think about, from what's really going on in Tom's head to questions about human responsibility to the planet and each other. It takes "alienation" to a whole new level. Ages 11-14. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Before being vaporized by a Gagnerian Death Ray, humans (aka the laughingstock of the universe ) get a last chance to prove their worth when superintelligent alien Ketchvar III arrives for an evaluation. The size of a snail, Ketchvar crawls into the nose and inhabits the brain of 14-year-old Tom, a bullied nerd living in suburban New Jersey. In theory, this gives Ketchvar the opportunity to operate covertly, though his stiff new speech patterns have everyone thinking Tom's acting even weirder than normal ( Let us live in harmony, like the moss and the lichen, he implores his bratty sister). Between the shocking violence of the voluntary daily incarceration known as school and examinations into the empty constructs of war and love, Ketchvar reports to his mothership via e-mails with subject headings like Old Hip-Hop Songs That Sucked. Klass even manages to work in an effective environmental message. There are no major surprises the sweet earth girl next door wins Earth another chance but that doesn't hamper this fast-moving and irascible comedy.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist



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