When I was sent this book, I didn’t really know what to expect because of it being categorised as a middle-grade novel. I haven’t actually read that much middle-grade (maybe 2 or 3), so I never know what I’m going to get. See You in the Cosmos in Jack Cheng’s debut middle-grade book and whenI heard it was about space, I couldn’t wait to start reading as – when I was younger – I used to be obsessed with all things to do with the universe!All eleven-year old Alex wants is to launch his iPod into space. With a series of audio recordings, he will show other lifeforms out in the cosmos what life on Earth, his Earth, is really like. But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions. But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions.
Where do I come from? Who’s out there? And, above all, How can I be brave?
Determined to find the answers, Alex sets out on a remarkable road trip that will turn his whole world upside down . . .
When I looked at the first page of this book, I noticed how different the format was; the chapters were the day-to-day recordings that our main character – Alex – does whilst he is going on his epic journey. And that’s exactly what this book is: an epic journey. He travels from state to state, meeting new friends and finding things out about himself that he never knew.
I loved the character of Alex, he felt so raw and vulnerable because of his age, yet he had this maturity that surrounded him and a sense of humour that sometimes made me cry with laughter. Sometimes it wasn’t even his sense of humour that made me laugh, it was his naivety, the fact that he was eleven and he wasn’t aware of certain things. Talking about characters, there wasn’t one character in this book that I didn’t like. At first, I really didn’t like Ronnie but as the book progressed, he underwent some fantastic character development and I loved him by the end of the book. Terra was also just fantastic. I cannot fault her one bit. All she wants to do is help out and look after everyone, she wants to love and nuture every one around her and the way that she looks after Alex is so incredibly heart-warming.
“Sometimes the clouds inside my head get big and gray and swwirly and then I hurrican through my eyes.”
– Jack Cheng, See You in the Cosmos
Even though this is a middle-grade novel, the book – very subtly – has an underlying young adult theme of mental illness, loss and finding yourself among all of the haziness of life. I felt like Cheng wrote the voice of an eleven-year-old perfectly as not once, did I feel like the character was older (or younger) than he actually was. I love how he was always being kept in the dark because of his age, but he felt like he was responsible enough to be told everything. It’s the exact feeling that eleven-year-olds feel in reality as well.
Towards the end of the book, we are slowly given the answers to the questions that Alex has been asking himself from the very beginning and the ending is just perfection. I cannot fault it at all.
This is a fabulous book that I urge you to read as it will not disappoint. There is brilliant writing, awesome characters and a fascinating plot that will have you keep turning the pages until you finish the book and you realise that you’ve been there for five hours reading and it’s 3am. This is a definite binge-read.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review