Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Review: First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci

Title: First Day on Earth
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic
ARC, 150 pages
Date Published: November 1, 2011
Source: NEIBA
Description (Taken from Goodreads): 
A startling, wonderful novel about the true meaning of being an alien in an equally alien world.

"We are specks. Pieces of dust in this universe. Big nothings.

"I know what I am."

Mal lives on the fringes of high school. Angry. Misunderstood. Yet loving the world -- or, at least, an idea of the world.

Then he meets Hooper. Who says he's from another planet. And may be going home very soon.
First Day on Earth is very quick read, but it packs a lot of punch in its 150 pages. It’s also quite different than what I expected. It seems like it’d be an alien book, but it focusses so much more on humankind and our existence with one another. The main character Mal has pain etched all over him.

The simplicity of Castellucci’s writing and character dialogue evokes even more emotion because it’s real. Mal is an angry, bitter, broken kid with a great heart and Castellucci shows the reader just that. He becomes no more and no less than who he is and I love that about him. Despite his father abandoning him, despite his alcoholic mother, despite being mocked and bullied, Mal is a wonderful, caring human being.

And Mal isn’t alone. He meets Hooper, a seemingly homeless, but very happy guy, and they become friends. Along the way Posey – a girl Mal’s had a crush on forever – and Darwyn – the constant cool kid tagalong – join their group to make four. The banding together of this group of outcasts (Posey isn’t exactly an outcast, but feels it all the same) is endearing and heartwarming.

We see Mal, Posey, and Darwyn struggle with basic human need to fit in. Then we see Hooper not even attempt to fit in, but still fit so well with them. The ending leaves the story open up to interpretation. It leaves the reader with the task of deciding whether or not extraterrestrial life exists or whether this goofy, fun character was really just a weirdo with a great spirit.

Opening line: You think you know what I am, the kid slumped in his chair in the back row, with greasy hair, wearing all black. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines/passages: 
So I find myself standing on the edge of an emotional cliff where I know I’m about to be disappointed. Again.
      I’m about to be left behind. Again.
      I know about pain. And I don’t think I can bear it. ~ pg. 123 *This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy  
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

Find Cecil Castellucci online:

Buy it online:


La Toya said...

This sounds like a pretty cool read and I definitely love the cover. Thanks for the review!

roro said...

tnx 4 the review
does not have a lot of buzz

Candace said...

I never paid this one much mind, never heard much about it, but it sounds really interesting! I'll have to watch for it now!

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