Author: Kraus, Daniel
Two years after the disappearance of her father, seventeen-year-old Liv and her friend capture an alien in the Iowa countryside, and instead of turning him over to the authorities, they choose a different path.
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2019 *Starred Review* Olivia (Liv) was a freshman when her gentle, bookish father, Lee, swore he’d been abducted by aliens. For months, he raved about the horrors he’d endured and obsessed over defending his home from invaders. Then he disappeared. Now a popular senior, Liv has learned to mask the still-raw wounds left by his legacy. The only holdover from her former life is Doug, the town pariah who worshipped Lee, and their Sunday excursions into the woods to check Lee’s traps. They never catch anything but unlucky wildlife—until the day they find a live alien. Liv wants to go public and clear her dad’s name, but Doug proposes another way to get justice. Aren’t they at war, after all? Kraus’ timely new novel, blending science fiction, coming-of-age realism, and psychological horror, is a brutal, unflinching look at how ordinary people can come to justify dehumanization, torture, and the abuse of power. Liv is sympathetic and relatable, making her slide from grieving teen to vengeful torturer more shocking; Doug, her foil, has equally complex and understandable motivations. Though Liv ultimately finds compassion stronger than hatred, there are no happy endings here, only devastating consequences. With a gripping, twisty story line and assured writing, this book will be a powerful and confrontational read for mature teens. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 9 Up—As she was walking to school her freshman year, Liv Fleming came across an alarming sight: her father, the high school's English and drama teacher, naked and gibbering incoherently in the town square. He had been missing for four days. As the town looked on and EMTs loaded him into an ambulance, Lee Fleming shouted one phrase: "biologic evidence!" After a year spent claiming he was abducted by aliens, Lee went missing again, this time for good. Now, as Liv steadfastly trudges through her senior year, she has accepted that her father is dead, but that doesn't stop her from checking his alien traps every Sunday with her friend Doug, the town's outcast and Lee's disciple. However, she's fed up with childhood memories—she's leaving for college in a few months anyway—but on the day she decides to destroy the traps, the unthinkable happens—an alien is caught. Liv and Doug now face an impossible decision: turn the alien over to the authorities, or keep it a secret and try to find out what happened to Lee Fleming. Kraus dissects loss and anger through the underused genre of alien abduction. Liv and Doug's grief and fury toward the "skinner," as Lee calls the aliens, are fully and uncomfortably realized at times. The prose is lyrically visceral and can be unsettling, but the genuine voices of the characters lend themselves to a story that is ultimately a haunting and heartbreaking look at human suffering and the lengths we will go for our loved ones. VERDICT Beautiful prose does little to mask the anger of this powerful narrative. Readers will have a hard time putting this down.—Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn Public Library - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.