The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away
Twelve-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens. The ones who take people and do experiments. When he's too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens—dark and foreboding.Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role-playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?Even readers who don’t believe in UFOs will relate to the universal kid feeling of not being taken seriously by adults that deepens this deliciously scary tale.

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away Details

TitleThe Owls Have Come to Take Us Away
Author
ReleaseFeb 19th, 2019
PublisherClarion Books
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Horror, Fiction

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away Review

  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith is a middle grade scifi/horror story featuring alien abductions. The main character Simon has a fear about aliens after picking up his parents books with the subject.Simon’s father is in the Air Force and his whole life he is used to being on military bases instead of out with the rest of the world. This however doesn’t stop Simon from having an active imagination as he writes stories hoping to become a young author.When out camping with his The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith is a middle grade scifi/horror story featuring alien abductions. The main character Simon has a fear about aliens after picking up his parents books with the subject.Simon’s father is in the Air Force and his whole life he is used to being on military bases instead of out with the rest of the world. This however doesn’t stop Simon from having an active imagination as he writes stories hoping to become a young author.When out camping with his parents Simon heads off into the woods by himself to gather firewood when he sees strange lights through the trees. The next thing Simon knows his parents find him passed out and he is sure he’s been abducted but is it real or just his overactive imagination?Reading The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away I could tell that the author has done a lot of research into the area of alien sightings and abductions since I’ve read a lot of the same subject matter in the past. It was fun to see how this young boy took it all so seriously and had studied up on the subject giving it all just the right combination of chills and thrills. There was one scene I questioned might be a little too much for the age range and the end seemed a bit rushed but overall I thought it was well done.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    Grays. Just saying it freaks me out. It's such a simple word. A color. Not black or white. But something in between. Something unknowable. Something that makes me not want to sleep. I'd never read anything by Ronald L. Smith before, but when I first heard this middle grade sci-fi/horror was releasing, I got so excited! I was terrified of aliens as a kid, so naturally, I'm totally fascinated by the whole idea of them (and abduction stories) as an adult. Plus, aliens + owls? Major Fourth Kind vib Grays. Just saying it freaks me out. It's such a simple word. A color. Not black or white. But something in between. Something unknowable. Something that makes me not want to sleep. I'd never read anything by Ronald L. Smith before, but when I first heard this middle grade sci-fi/horror was releasing, I got so excited! I was terrified of aliens as a kid, so naturally, I'm totally fascinated by the whole idea of them (and abduction stories) as an adult. Plus, aliens + owls? Major Fourth Kind vibes (not that the film is where the idea originated, but still), so altogether, I was super stoked to read this! On top of everything else, a biracial kid with asthma as a main character, and a book that takes the time to seriously tackle toxic masculinity? There's just so much good stuff going on here, y'all. Unfortunately, it's not all good: the writing is okay, but not my favorite, and there are some issues that never get addressed, like Simon's father's total absence most of the time (and his emotionally abusive nature when he is around), or Simon's paralyzing fear of mental health professionals and medications (which could be great if he grew to learn that they are super helpful for some people, but instead, they're vilified to the end). I know some books are just for fun, and that's great for a lot of readers, but as a mom and children's librarian, it's hard to watch an author sail right past these opportunities to shed light on some really heavy (and important!) topics for kids while telling the story.The other issue — and this was the biggest reason my rating isn't particularly high — is that Simon is writing a fantasy novel, and we're periodically forced to sift through a chapter at a time of that. This is a totally personal issue, but I hate the "books inside of books" trope, especially when the inner-layer "book" is COMPLETELY UNRELATED to the story we signed up to read. It just comes off as pointless filler and it's frustrating and disjointed.All in all, not my favorite MG horror by any means, but it had its fun moments and I flew through it. I'm not sure it's the first thing I'll be recommending to kids based on the problems that aren't ever addressed, but with the right reader, I could see this being a world of fun and creepiness.All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Clarion Books for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Tucker (TuckerTheReader)
    January 1, 1970
    this title sounds like something a senile, old man would shout.
  • Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary
    January 1, 1970
    I have thoughts, and they're not entirely good. I'll write up the review as soon as I can figure out why exactly I'm so mad.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher for review consideration.
  • ~☆~Autumn♥♥
    January 1, 1970
    This book is almost 5 stars but a few things irritated me too much. Its a little scary at least for me but that held my attention. It is mostly about aliens. I don't much like them being depicted as owls since owls get a bad rap as it is! All kinds of people believe silly nonsense about them. Thank God for Hedwig which may help the utter nonsense.
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  • Mr. Salerno
    January 1, 1970
    Great sci-fi story that feels like a mix of The X-Files and The Twilight Zone. Also, aliens. 👽🛸
  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Simon knows all about aliens. He has been studying them for years and knows they are out there really abducting people. On a camping trip with his parents, Simon actually has an abduction experience. Of course no one believes him, but it keeps happening. He relies on his friends Tony and Miranda to help figure things out. His parents think he is crazy and send him to a psychiatrist to be medicated. But Simon knows something is coming.Ronald Smith books are always a bit different and this was pro Simon knows all about aliens. He has been studying them for years and knows they are out there really abducting people. On a camping trip with his parents, Simon actually has an abduction experience. Of course no one believes him, but it keeps happening. He relies on his friends Tony and Miranda to help figure things out. His parents think he is crazy and send him to a psychiatrist to be medicated. But Simon knows something is coming.Ronald Smith books are always a bit different and this was probably the strangest of them all. I think there were things that worked in this book and others that didn't. I don't get why the book Simon is writing was included, especially why full chapters were included. Sure it is supposed to help Simon work through what he is going on, but it was jarring and interrupted the flow of the story. I did like Simon's alien information and experiences. But what kid doesn't know what sour cream is? That might have been the strangest thing!
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  • Avery (Book Deviant)
    January 1, 1970
    My original rating for this book was too generous. I didn’t know what I would say in positive light for this book, but at the same time I didn’t feel that it deserved the very lowest rating. But when you can’t think of anything good to say about a book, when there’s literally nothing I even slightly liked, then does it really deserve generosity? Especially when it’s supposed to be an honest review. I can’t think of anything about this book that I enjoyed, so in trying to be positive, I don’t thi My original rating for this book was too generous. I didn’t know what I would say in positive light for this book, but at the same time I didn’t feel that it deserved the very lowest rating. But when you can’t think of anything good to say about a book, when there’s literally nothing I even slightly liked, then does it really deserve generosity? Especially when it’s supposed to be an honest review. I can’t think of anything about this book that I enjoyed, so in trying to be positive, I don’t think I can maintain honesty.Read my full review on The Book Deviant!
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  • Kim Dyer
    January 1, 1970
    While I was really quite excited to read this novel, I must admit that I am now a little on the fence about how I feel about it.To begin with the positive, it is a very creepy story. Simon's encounters with the "owls" are all rather atmospheric, really bringing to mind the likes of Twin Peaks and The Fourth Kind. I also liked the way that the story managed to maintain its ambiguity until very close to the end of the tale. I kept reading the novel because I was curious to find out if Simon's enco While I was really quite excited to read this novel, I must admit that I am now a little on the fence about how I feel about it.To begin with the positive, it is a very creepy story. Simon's encounters with the "owls" are all rather atmospheric, really bringing to mind the likes of Twin Peaks and The Fourth Kind. I also liked the way that the story managed to maintain its ambiguity until very close to the end of the tale. I kept reading the novel because I was curious to find out if Simon's encounter was real, or a product of his imagination. The novel was pretty effective in this regard, keeping me guessing until its final few chapters.However, as interesting as the concept was, there were some issues with its execution. Simon's narrative is very simplistic, even for a middle grade novel, as it is entirely presented as the stream of consciousness of a twelve year old. It is also peppered with excerpts from a novel that Simon is writing - a rather unoriginal fantasy story that only vaguely mirrors the main story. These only really serve to bog down the novel as they never really captured my interest.The plot of the novel also didn't have much of a structure to it, never really feeling as though it was building to anything. Although Simon makes a couple of efforts to prove that he was abducted, the novel doesn't really do much to build any sense of mystery. There is no sense of progression, and therefore the ending of the novel just feels kind of abrupt when it finally does arrive.Then, there are the characters. Simon could have been a great protagonist. He was presented as a biracial asthmatic "nerd" and therefore a disappointed to his while, overly-masculine, military man father. Yet, unfortunately, the novel really explored any of this. Simon's father is absent for a lot of the novel and, although Simon resents him for his toxic masculinity, he never gets to confront him about this.Simon also never really shows any doubt about what happened to him, resolutely believing in his abduction and never listening to any of the more rational explanations that he is given. The novel even goes as far as to vilify the doctor who tries to help him, dismissing the help that she gives and reluctant to take his medicine due to the fact that it makes him seem so tired. This frustrated me a little, as it did feel as though that it was outright dismissing the good that this treatment can do.The rest of the supporting cast did not really receive any development. Tony and Miranda just believe Simon without question, and Simon's mother was a bit of a shrinking violet. It was unclear why she was even with her husband, given how different their personalities were. It really frustrated me that she never stood up for Simon, even when her husband was being horrible to him.Anyhow, I think that about covers it. All in all, this book as a bit of mixed bag. While I liked the concept and did think that it was very creepy in places, the story was a bit weak and the characters could have done with more development. Still, I would certainly consider reading more of Smith's work in the future.
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  • Kathy Cunningham
    January 1, 1970
    Ronald L. Smith’s THE OWLS HAVE COME TO TAKE US AWAY is a riveting Middle Grade novel that’s both a sci-fi thriller and a statement about humanity. Twelve-year-old Simon is biracial (his mother is black and his father is white). But he hates the term “biracial” – he says, “if it were up to me, we’d all just be humans, and leave it at that.” He’s been the target of bullies, and he has few friends. He’s obsessed with fantasy novels, role-playing video games, and the idea that aliens from another p Ronald L. Smith’s THE OWLS HAVE COME TO TAKE US AWAY is a riveting Middle Grade novel that’s both a sci-fi thriller and a statement about humanity. Twelve-year-old Simon is biracial (his mother is black and his father is white). But he hates the term “biracial” – he says, “if it were up to me, we’d all just be humans, and leave it at that.” He’s been the target of bullies, and he has few friends. He’s obsessed with fantasy novels, role-playing video games, and the idea that aliens from another planet have been abducting humans for decades. The alien thing started when Simon read Whitley Strieber’s COMMUNION, a decidedly creepy story about alien abduction. So as the novel begins, Simon is living on an Air Force Base (his father is military), playing EverCraft, working on his own novel (a fantasy story he calls “Max Hollyoak and the Tree of Everwyn”), and worrying about aliens. When Simon and his parents go off on a family camping trip, something strange happens to him – and it somehow involves an owl. But was it really an owl he encountered in the dark woods, or something much more insidious? Could he have been abducted by aliens?Once the alien plot gets going, Simon must deal with his detached father (who is disappointed in his non-athletic son who prefers video games to the great outdoors) and his hovering mother (who becomes convinced that her son is mentally ill and needs psychotropic medication). Simon’s parents don’t believe his story about what might have happened to him on the camping trip. But when he finds a group of alien believers, he begins to think beyond his own personal experience to something much bigger – something that just might affect the entire human race.I loved this novel, probably because I’ve always been a little obsessed with aliens myself. But I also really liked Simon – he’s a believable twelve-year-old, struggling with his own fears and his parents’ inability to understand him. He narrates the novel, speaking directly to his reader (and giving us chapters of his own novel-in-progress, a story that clearly parallels what’s going on in Simon’s life). Simon’s protagonist, Max Hollyoak, is very autobiographical, even as he encounters supernatural and fantastical elements of the world a round him. Simon, too, is living in a world that might contain supernatural and fantastical elements, things his parents reject but he must face head-on.Overall, this is a novel for lovers of science fiction, fantasy, and reading. I found the ending to be incredibly satisfying – a bit mystical, but totally uplifting and positive. Smith’s message is all about what it means to be human (“There is only one race. The human race.”). It’s a message both kids and their parents can embrace. I highly recommend this novel for kids of all ages – it’s a great read with a very positive message. Read this one![Please note: I was provided an Advance Reading Copy of this novel free of charge; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Netgalley.comSimon lives with his family on an Air Force base in Delaware. His dad is white and his mom is black, but he wishes that everyone just thought of people as humans. After all, the big threat (as everyone knows) is ALIENS. Simon is obsessed with the fact that aliens, particularly the Grays, are going to land on Earth and wreak havoc on the planet. Simon is probably worried about this because he doesn't feel like there is a lot else he can do about his life. His older brother E ARC from Netgalley.comSimon lives with his family on an Air Force base in Delaware. His dad is white and his mom is black, but he wishes that everyone just thought of people as humans. After all, the big threat (as everyone knows) is ALIENS. Simon is obsessed with the fact that aliens, particularly the Grays, are going to land on Earth and wreak havoc on the planet. Simon is probably worried about this because he doesn't feel like there is a lot else he can do about his life. His older brother, Edwin, got all the sports genes, and Simon feels his father is disappointed in him. He'd much rather play MMORPGs with his friend Tony, but Tony is in Mexico. Simon also has significant asthma, still wets the bed, and doesn't get along with people at school too well. He is also working on his own epic novel, called Max Hollyoak and the Tree of Everwyn. After a family camping trip, however, Simon is sure that he aliens, in the shape of owls, have attacked him and implanted a chip in his stomach. His parents, concerned about his talk of aliens and his general level of oddness, take him to a psychiatrist who puts Simon on several different kinds of medication. These make Simon feel odd, so he stops taking them without telling his parents. Edwin's girlfriend, Miranda, fans the flames of his alien obsession by taking him to her father's group of people interested in alien abductions, and Simon spends a lot of time obsessing further about the aliens who are supposedly speaking to him. Finally, in a drastic bid to get away from the aliens, he tries to remove the implant from his stomach with scissors. He injures himself badly, and his family is convinced he tried to kill himself. Is Simon hallucinating, or does he have a valid concern about the aliens attacking Earth?Strengths: I liked that Simon lived on an Air Force base; there should be more books about students from military families. It's also good to see a character who identifies as a "black nerd"; again, not many of these in middle grade literature. There are still some students who believe in aliens, and this was an interesting example of realistic science fiction-- are the aliens real or not? Weaknesses: Simon is not an attractive character, with his negative attitudes and bed wetting. The whole beginning of the book concentrates on these negative attributes, which make the story start a bit slowly. I also wasn't a fan of Simon's novel being interpolated into the book.What I really think: I generally like Smith's work, but books about alien invasion (with the exception of the action-packed Falkner's Recon Team Angel books (The Assault, etc.) or Walden's Earthfall trilogy) move very slowly in my library, so I may pass.
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  • TammyJo Eckhart
    January 1, 1970
    Last summer while driving back and forth to look in on my father during a rough health period for him, my hubby and I listened to some podcast where owls were discussed in relationship to aliens... yes, you read that correctly. This book seemed related (and it was) so I thought it could be a fun read for us together. The book is written for older kids or tweens because there are so many chapters (33) and they are very short. The book even has 3 parts so a parent or teacher could assign a part to Last summer while driving back and forth to look in on my father during a rough health period for him, my hubby and I listened to some podcast where owls were discussed in relationship to aliens... yes, you read that correctly. This book seemed related (and it was) so I thought it could be a fun read for us together. The book is written for older kids or tweens because there are so many chapters (33) and they are very short. The book even has 3 parts so a parent or teacher could assign a part to be read a week without over taxing a fairly new reader amidst all their other homework. Or you could finish it outloud in 3.5 hours like we did... lol. The writing is simple but some of the ideas are complex so it is a good way to challenge reading ability while engaging interest.Our viewpoint character and narrator is Simon who lives in military housing because of his father's career. Simon happens to be biracial but that seems like a minor point in the story. Simon's fear of and interest in aliens is the focus and everything that happens is because of that fear. Simon is smart but not in a science nerdy way, in a gaming and creative way. His feelings seemed real as you read even if his logic was off to us adult readers at times.Author Ronald L. Smith employs a second narrative in the story, where we see one of Simon's writing projects as he works on it. The story mimics what is happening in his life in some ways but not others. This secondary narrative was intriguing. Sadly that isn't the case for the epilogue where the viewpoint switches to 3rd person and feels colder. Honestly I'd prefer that the story ended before this epilogue and there was simply a second book giving us what happens next -- I'm not spoiling that by telling you.
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  • Zanereads
    January 1, 1970
    What it's about:Simon believes in aliens, specifically Grays. He’s read all about them, but when he gets abducted and a tracking device is implanted into his stomach, no one believes him, except for his friends Tony and Miranda. What I liked:The fear for me while reading this book was real. I have a fear of aliens, and the thoughts of being abducted. I’m right there with Simon. I get where he’s coming from, I understand his fear. I finished this book in one sitting because I needed to know how t What it's about:Simon believes in aliens, specifically Grays. He’s read all about them, but when he gets abducted and a tracking device is implanted into his stomach, no one believes him, except for his friends Tony and Miranda. What I liked:The fear for me while reading this book was real. I have a fear of aliens, and the thoughts of being abducted. I’m right there with Simon. I get where he’s coming from, I understand his fear. I finished this book in one sitting because I needed to know how things turned out. And I have to say that the ending surprised me.What I disliked:Simons dad. What a jerk. He clearly had a favorite between his children, and a too high an opinion of himself. He had ideas of what Simon should be and how he should think and act and when Simon didn’t meet his standards, he didn’t bother to understand, or to except his son for who is he. As sad as it is, this is something that kids have to deal with everyday. Not being good enough for a parent. Falling short of their expectations or even have different beliefs. Overview:As an adult reading middle grade, I feel like this would be a great story to read before going on a camping trip. It’s just spooky enough to give you chills, especially if you’re scared of aliens. The real question you need to ask yourself before reading though, is, do YOU believe?
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  • Patricia Amercani
    January 1, 1970
    “The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away” by Ronald L. Smith is an interesting read about a boy whose obsession about aliens takes a grim turn when he finds he has been abducted. Throughout the book, there are several times when the reader questions themselves about whether or not the abduction was real or based off of a psychosis the boy is experiencing. While, the book definitely held my attention there were several areas that I felt were not necessary although I understand it was only meant to par “The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away” by Ronald L. Smith is an interesting read about a boy whose obsession about aliens takes a grim turn when he finds he has been abducted. Throughout the book, there are several times when the reader questions themselves about whether or not the abduction was real or based off of a psychosis the boy is experiencing. While, the book definitely held my attention there were several areas that I felt were not necessary although I understand it was only meant to parallel what everyone wishes could happen to themselves: to be part of something bigger than themselves and to feel important. I feel it could have better conveyed that as well as spend more time on how the boy and his friends could have interacted with the knowledge that they end up attaining. In the end, however, the book was pretty okay for a middle school read. Although it had its faults, particularly about how it just ends, it has some pretty strong parts that are hard to ignore especially when it comes to the feelings of a boy who just wants to feel loved.
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  • Kathleen Guinnane
    January 1, 1970
    The main character is a military dependent (young boy) who has always been infatuated with aliens and when he goes on a camping trip with his family something happens and he thinks he was abducted. His family doesn't believe him and starts taking him to a psychiatrist. The kid gets increasingly upset about the alien abduction and realizes that it's happened again. He stops taking his meds, joins an alien believer group on the base, and tries to cut out the alien implant. I like that the kid writ The main character is a military dependent (young boy) who has always been infatuated with aliens and when he goes on a camping trip with his family something happens and he thinks he was abducted. His family doesn't believe him and starts taking him to a psychiatrist. The kid gets increasingly upset about the alien abduction and realizes that it's happened again. He stops taking his meds, joins an alien believer group on the base, and tries to cut out the alien implant. I like that the kid writes fiction to help him cope, but the dual storyline got a little confusing at times. The story wraps up too quickly and neatly, but he does kind of get to say, "I told you so".
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  • Cat
    January 1, 1970
    Good one for the most part! I think kids 5th grade up who are in to alien stories will enjoy this book. The book does have some issues, but none most kids will give thought to, if they even notice. But it's a fun ride and I think I would have enjoyed this story as an 11 year old! Just too fun! Not real crazy about the parents, but don't really know many people who thought theirs were the greatest either. Dads were always rather standoffish when I was growing up and my daughter' generation dads d Good one for the most part! I think kids 5th grade up who are in to alien stories will enjoy this book. The book does have some issues, but none most kids will give thought to, if they even notice. But it's a fun ride and I think I would have enjoyed this story as an 11 year old! Just too fun! Not real crazy about the parents, but don't really know many people who thought theirs were the greatest either. Dads were always rather standoffish when I was growing up and my daughter' generation dads don;t look so different. Eh, I still enjoyed the story! One really can't go wrong with alien abduction tales.I received a Kindle ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Melissa Dunbar
    January 1, 1970
    Smith fosters an understanding and appreciation for the world in which we live and addresses real issues faced by middle school students. This sci-fi is well written and develops great characters. I love the story within the story and found myself hoping that Max's story would evolve and develop into its own novel. I do wish that the use of strong language regarding grommets would have been avoided. If it HAD to be used, there are many other instances where Simon experienced intense emotion. I Smith fosters an understanding and appreciation for the world in which we live and addresses real issues faced by middle school students. This sci-fi is well written and develops great characters. I love the story within the story and found myself hoping that Max's story would evolve and develop into its own novel. I do wish that the use of strong language regarding grommets would have been avoided. If it HAD to be used, there are many other instances where Simon experienced intense emotion. I used this for a Book Spark today and my students are very excited about reading it. I enjoyed it and KNOW my students will too!
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  • Brandi
    January 1, 1970
    xx I received this story for free from NetGalley for my honest review. xxHonestly, this story was very childish, as is its intended audience. I found the writing to be very weak, the plot was almost non-existent, and the conflict of the series was simply that Simon wanted his family to believe him.I think the only thing that I really liked was the ending - the alien children, Simon telling them of his abductions. That was honestly the only 'fun' and intriguing part of the story for me that I rea xx I received this story for free from NetGalley for my honest review. xxHonestly, this story was very childish, as is its intended audience. I found the writing to be very weak, the plot was almost non-existent, and the conflict of the series was simply that Simon wanted his family to believe him.I think the only thing that I really liked was the ending - the alien children, Simon telling them of his abductions. That was honestly the only 'fun' and intriguing part of the story for me that I really enjoyed. (And that's so sad because it was only a page in a half to two pages long.)I liked the cover, but as Simon comes to find out in the story, looks can be deceiving.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    This was masterful throughout 98% of the book! Was Simon imagining the whole situation, was he mentally ill or was the experience real? The premise powered the book and I raced through the pages, captivated by Simon's voice and the over-riding question.Then I ran into the ending and the tacked on epilogue which did not work for me at all. Darn! I wish Smith had stopped with page 202.One of the strengths of this book is the frustrating experience kids have of not being believed by adults and I th This was masterful throughout 98% of the book! Was Simon imagining the whole situation, was he mentally ill or was the experience real? The premise powered the book and I raced through the pages, captivated by Simon's voice and the over-riding question.Then I ran into the ending and the tacked on epilogue which did not work for me at all. Darn! I wish Smith had stopped with page 202.One of the strengths of this book is the frustrating experience kids have of not being believed by adults and I thought that was wonderfully developed. Loved the book but disliked the unnecessary addition at the end.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I really struggled with this book. The idea of the owls didn’t come into play until quite a bit later in the book, and the main character is not very lovable or relatable. The story just didn’t flow. I felt like, even though I had a feeling that ending was coming, it was out of nowhere. Bam! End of the book! It was just too weird and not developed enough for me in the right places and too developed in other places (like the book the kid is writing-not sure why th Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC! I really struggled with this book. The idea of the owls didn’t come into play until quite a bit later in the book, and the main character is not very lovable or relatable. The story just didn’t flow. I felt like, even though I had a feeling that ending was coming, it was out of nowhere. Bam! End of the book! It was just too weird and not developed enough for me in the right places and too developed in other places (like the book the kid is writing-not sure why that was such a focus?). I just couldn’t get into it.
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  • Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 7%I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.I really struggled with Simon's voice. My eyes actually hurt from all the rolling they did. He was really obnoxious and spent way too much time explaining things that did not need to be explained. I understand that some people might not be familiar with the military and how it works, but there were DNF at 7%I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.I really struggled with Simon's voice. My eyes actually hurt from all the rolling they did. He was really obnoxious and spent way too much time explaining things that did not need to be explained. I understand that some people might not be familiar with the military and how it works, but there were way too many details. He would also repeat information from a previous page, and most of the time it was about something insignificant. I think this book sheds a negative light on military families and their children. I'm sure it's not easy for some to move around a lot, but not all families are like that. Some children enjoy moving and having the opportunity to see new things and make more friends. There are also families that request to stay in the same place so their kids can finish school. Simon makes it seem like he was forever scarred by the thought of moving. Again, I'm sure there are people that don't like it, but Simon's version was too unbelievable. I didn't feel sorry for him, or want to understand his feelings.Also, for a book about aliens, this kid talks about his military childhood nonstop. Additionally, Simon knows really off-the-wall information, but then doesn't know the basics. He was able to describe his asthma and the medication with precision, yet the doctors used "white stuff" when he had an attack. One reviewer said he didn't know what sour cream was (didn't get that far myself), but he can tell you every detail about Area 51.After a few chapters, I just couldn't do it anymore. I didn't even get to the owls and aliens, which is a bummer. I was really looking forward to this one, and I thought it would be fun to read to my son, but it's going to get a hard no from me. Originally posted at Do You Dog-ear? on September 30, 2018.
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  • Cynthia Parkhill
    January 1, 1970
    What an intense read: gripping, suspenseful; it kept me thoroughly engrossed, wanting to know what happened next. Things build inexorably to a climactic moment that caught this reader, at least, up in the urgency and drama. Complete review at http://cynthiaparkhill.blogspot.com/2...
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  • mindy
    January 1, 1970
    Ok so that took an unexpected turn and you know what? I sort of loved it. I wish I had more about the mom and dad, but it was engaging anyway. I was an alien fanatic when I was a kid (ok and still now as an adult) so I really connected with Simon. Anyway, just a really fun story with a really good ending.
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  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in a few hours. Just had to find out what happened to Simon. I couldn’t imagine how it would end and then it did. I really liked how it wrapped up, after feeling sorry for Simon throughout most of the book. This alien story was quite the ride. I don’t think I will be able to forget.👽 😄
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    This book was really good! It was engrossing to the point it was hard to stop reading it. It's a great mixture of typical middle grade books (friends, crushes, family problems) and science fiction. It was well-written and believable. I look forward to seeing the final artwork. I would hand this to children who like a bit of science fiction mixed with realism.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come closer to publication. Thank you to Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group & Clarion Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I really liked this book up until the end. The end was SO DISAPPOINTING.Edit to add: Okay I also wasn't the biggest fan of the book-in-the-book.
  • Jd
    January 1, 1970
    I read a prerelease copy and LOVED this book. I highly recommend buying this book when it comes out!
  • Becca
    January 1, 1970
    Not quite sure what I think about this one yet.
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