Summary: Gratuity, aka “Tip,” knew something was wrong when her mom got a glowing purple mole. But things got even weirder when Earth was invaded by aliens. The Boov, an alien race from across the galaxy, have discovered Earth, renamed it “Smekday,” captured Tip’s mom, and set up human reserves all across the world. Now, everyone living in the United States is being shipped off to Florida. Tip, for reasons unexplained, decides to drive herself to the reserve halfway across the country. She takes her cat Pig and some supplies and sets off on the journey. On the way, she picks up a stray Boov named J.Lo. The two strike an unlikely alliance and set off to help Tip find her mom, and maybe even save the world.
Recommendation: This book had me hooked for days. The general frame is that Tip wrote the story as a submission for the “Time Capsule Contest,” where the winner would have their entry put in a time capsule and dug up generations later. This allowed Rex to organize the book nonlinearly – Gratuity would start telling the reader part of the story, and then double back and give more detail on an earlier occurrence when the essay judges ask for clarification. As a result, the 1st person sounds very natural, so the novel has a lot of voice. This book will cause you to fall off your rump laughing. J.Lo and his fellow Boovs enjoy eating things that wouldn’t be on your everyday menu; when J.Lo says he found some “delicious cakes” in the bathroom, they were really toilet cleaning soaps. Since he can’t write, he instead draws comics that supplement the book. They humorously explain the Boovs’ history, with lots of people/aliens dying of asphyxiation and did-you-know (“Wherefor You Knowing It?”) sections. Overall, The True Meaning of Smekday is downright hilarious and made my list of favorites.
Favorite Passage: Here is one of J.Lo’s comics: