by Judd Winick
Graphic novel; science fiction
Interest level: 2-6
Reading level: 1.6
5 out of 5 stars
D.J. believes he leads a very boring life; he doesn’t really excel at any one thing, like his four siblings do. His life takes a big turn when he witnesses something fall from space and crash to earth, and meets a strange boy with amnesia, named Hilo. As Hilo starts to remember who he is and why he is here, he and D.J. form a strong friendship as they battle to save Earth.
The graphic novel format of this book will appeal to young and reluctant readers, as will the super hero and science fiction aspects. But the book is deeper than a surface level save-the-world story. Themes of inadequacy, persevering when scared, and triumphing through working as a team are also explored.
The main characters of Hilo, D.J., and Gina are well-developed, and their friendship is a solid addition to the story. It is also refreshing that they are diverse, representing African-American and Asian-American families.
Overall, this is a strong story, and the cliff-hangar ending means readers will be waiting excitedly for the next book.