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Month in review

Reviews
Beast & Crown by Joel Ross
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam
CatStronauts: Space Station Situation by Drew Brockington
Demon, Volume 4 by Jason Shiga
Feathertop by Robert D. San Souci
14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop
From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle
The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg
Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott
Lights, Camera, Middle School! by Jennifer L. Holm
The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds
The Losers Club by Andrew Clements
The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green
Murder on the Half Shelf by Lorna Barrett
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes
One Mixed-Up Night by Catherine Newman
Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes by Booki Vivat
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Paper Girls Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Red Leech by Andrew Lane
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Ripped From the Pages by Kate Carlisle
The Scarebird by Sid Fleischman and Peter Sís
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Walking with Miss Millie by Tamara Bundy
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 25 by Rosamund Kidman Cox

Miscellaneous
2017 books read and reviewed
Back Half round-up: Favorite books read and reviewed from July-December 2017 Canadian Books reviewed in 2017
Diverse Books Reviewed in 2017
First Book of the Year Graphic Novels Reviewed in 2017
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 04)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 11)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 18)
It's Monday, What Are You Reading (December 25)
Mysteries reviewed in 2017
Road Narrative Summary
November 2017 sources
November 2017 summary

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish


See You in the Cosmos: 12/23/17

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng is written as a series of audio file transcripts. Now I've read and enjoyed books that use this technique before — namely 0.4 and 1.4 by Mike Lancaster. But this time, the conceit didn't work for me.

Alex Petroski and his dog Carl Sagan head out by train from Colorado to Los Angeles via New Mexico and Las Vegas. He's on a quest to record awesome sounds and stories for his rocket like was done with Voyager.

The other half of this set up is that Alex is leaving home — leaving an unhealthy where his mother can't take care of herself let alone him. He's been doing everything including the grocery shopping, while also being part of the rocket club, and going to school.

Part of what put me off from the get go is Alex's cheerfulness. It's not that he's optimistic that things will work out — he's just HAPPY. Unnaturally so. Naively so. More so than I would expect someone going through what he's gone through to be.

I even tried this book as an audiobook and the narrator reads Alex's monolog in an over the top happy voice that I just couldn't make it through the entire book that way.

What Alex reminded me most throughout was Russell from Up (2009). What saved Russell from being intolerable and his cheerfulness unbelievable is that he wasn't the main character of the film. His behavior could be seen through the filter of a depressed and grieving old man who was trying to have one last adventure. Alex as the protagonist here doesn't have that. He's unfiltered and it doesn't work.

Two stars

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