The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
As part of a class assignment, Gratuity “Tip” Tucci writes an essay about Smekday. She ends up writing three versions, each longer and more eventful than the previous.
When aliens invaded Earth on Christmas Eve, they also took Tip’s mother. Within months the Boov have renamed Earth to Smekland and Christmas to Smekday (both after the commander who lead them to the planet) and have decided to relocate all of the humans in the US to Florida. Tip decides to forgo the provided podship transportation and drive from her town in Pennsylvania to Florida. Unfortunately, her car hits a bit of a snag along the way.
Along comes J.Lo. No, not the popular movie star/singer, but rather a Boov mechanic who offers to fix Tip’s car…as long as she takes him to Florida with her. And so begins a road trip of fantastical proportions which includes a hovering car named Slushious, a group of UFOlogists, cloning/transporting machines and another bigger, badder group of invading aliens.
Tip and J.Lo’s relationship progresses as the story goes along. Tip comes to realize that just because he is a Boov, it doesn’t mean that J.Lo is a horrible, dislikeable being.
The humor. Oh, the humor. J.Lo’s misunderstanding and misuse of the English language. The misadventures the duo encounter during the trip. I laughed often while listening to the story.
The range of emotions. Tip’s understandable anger and sadness at the loss of her mom. Her joy when she finds her mom again. Her frustrations with J.Lo – and other characters. All are deftly described.
The not-Disney theme park in Orlando: Happy Mouse Kingdom. I loved the descriptions of the park and its characters.
The last part of the book – after they arrive in Arizona – was much weaker than the rest of the story. I felt it was rushed, and not nearly as skillfully written as the actual road trip sections.
I listened to the audiobook, which was the 2011 Odyssey winner. Because of this, I missed out on the illustrations. I didn’t even realize it, though, until one part where Tip mentions that J.Lo drew a comic strip to describe something. T