I was intrigued by the title but this turned out to be a disappointment.
Eleven year old Alex has a keen interest in space exploration and the whole book is written in the form of a transcript of Alex’s recordings for his space capsule.
I’ve realized I don’t like diary entry/audio transcript form of novels because they are told in a passive voice and are often kinda ‘meh’. In terms of the plot, in the first quarter of the book Alex is going to the space festival on his own. His mother is explained away as depressed and non-functioning. The next three quarters of the book is a bizarre road trip, Alex going from place to place, meeting new characters who drop everything in their lives to take Alex places and we witness some of their personal drama. Second quarter of the book he is going off to find his missing father and ends up meeting his half sister, he never knew existed. In the third quarter his dog goes missing, and so now we are looking for his dog.
Alex flints from one objective to the another and we’re left scratching our heads in bewilderment.
I thought the plot would revolve around space exploration and perseverance, instead it is about a rocket launch, search for a father, discovering and bonding with a newly discovered sister, losing the dog, meeting a space exploration big shot, hanging out with random strangers in Vegas, living with a parent with mental health issues… Yet the main character comes through the whole ordeal without any change, as emotionally inept as in the beginning. Doesn’t an eleven year old know when he’s not wanted? The secondary characters are not fleshed out properly, and if the characters are annoyed with the boy, we have to ask why they are still hanging out with him?!
Why is it that as soon as we move slightly away middle grade towards young adult, it opens a whole pandora box of nasties?!
There is mention of infidelity/polygamy, gambling, drinking. There are a few expletives. The book further stigmatizes schizophrenia and mental health issues.