Alex Petroski is eleven years old and is making recordings on his iPod to be launched into space. Living in Colorado with is mother, Alex and his dog, Carl Sagan, named after his hero astronomer, plans to travel by train to New Mexico to the SHARK rocket festival. He is going to launch his rocket, with his iPod inside, into space with recordings made for the extraterrestrial beings who might inhabit space. The narrative of the book is made up of the recordings, and it is through these recordings we find out about Alex. We find out about his 24 year old brother living in Los Angeles and sending money home to support Alex and their mother, Alex’s father who may or not may be alive, and Alex’s mother who is sometimes functional, but most times not. We learnt that Alex has a lot on his plate for a young boy, and through his unassuming and innocent recordings, we learn a lot about his and others’ lives. On his way to SHARF Alex meets Zed and Steve. Zed and Steve begin to help Alex out by taking him to visit someone he thinks might be his father, but when Carl Sagan goes missing on the way Alex’s world almost falls apart.
This is a wonderfully written, heart-warming story told through the eyes of an eleven year old. Through Alex’s innocent and positive outlook, the reader sees many perspectives of other characters in a different light to Alex and is more aware of his predicaments and circumstances than he is. This is clever writing. The characters are varied and interesting with different agendas. Alex touches all in some way, as most readers will be touched by the end of the book. Although for young readers, this book will also suit an older audience. This will be enjoyed by fans of Wonder by R J Palacio and would make a terrific read aloud novel.
Many thanks to Penguin Random House for supplying this book for review.