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Author: Pelletier, Cathie
A boring summer vacation turns unexpectedly interesting when mysterious lights appear over Roberta's hometown in northern Maine. Roberta is convinced she and her best friend Marillee can win the Maine State Science Fair if only they can find an amazing project to showcase. Communicating with aliens would certainly do the trick.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 166049
School Library Journal (00/03/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/14)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2014 Gr 4–7—An eventful summer for 11-year-old Roberta McKinnon begins with a sighting of strange white lights in the sky and rumors of a UFO. Over the next few months Roberta and her best friend, Marilee, are spied on by Johnny, Roberta's older brother, and his best friend Billy. Before the summer ends, the friends attempt to extract revenge, question whether they were kidnapped by a UFO, and try to beat Roberta's enemy, Henry, at the State Science Fair. Each girl experiences family heartbreak: Marilee must accept her father's engagement and Roberta's beloved grandfather dies, but through it all their friendship remains rock solid. The UFO story line culminates in a confusing sequence which may leave readers wondering whether it was real or not, while the ending has the nostalgic feel of an adult looking back on one's childhood rather than the musings of an authentic tween girl. Despite these minor drawbacks, Pelletier has crafted a timeless coming-of-age story set in small town America. Hand this book to readers who enjoy good, old-fashioned stories.—Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 05/01/2014 Even though it’s still summer, eleven-year-old Roberta has struck upon a surefire way to win her school’s upcoming science fair: she and her best friend Marilee will make contact with the UFOs spotted above their town of Allagash, Maine, in hopes of being abducted (and, of course, returned). It’s perhaps the most harebrained of Roberta’s many schemes, which she relays through frank and familiar narration, but it’s one worth the danger just to beat her arch nemesis, Henry Horton Harris Helmsby, aka “The 4Hs of the Apocalypse.” Before they can put their plan into action, Roberta suffers the loss of her beloved grandfather, Marilee runs away in protest of her father’s new girlfriend, and both girls must endure the (not completely unwelcome) teasing of Roberta’s older brother and his friend, all while Allagash goes topsy-turvy with talk of UFO sightings. The book uses a light but deft touch in melding the serious with the comic, creating in the spunky Roberta a balanced and believable heroine feeling the first pangs of encroaching adolescence. Pelletier takes familiar themes—friendship, sibling rivalries, grief—and interweaves them with an unusual but enjoyable plotline; after all, how often do middle-grade protagonists experience alien abduction? Readers will enjoy the originality and accessibility of this humorous hike through remote northern Maine—interest in UFOs not required. AA - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/01/2014 Pelletier’s first novel for young readers is set in her hometown of Allagash, Maine, a quiet Canadian-border community with an odd bit of history—namely, the supposed Allagash Abduction alien encounter of 1976. Almost 40 years later, 11-year-old Roberta McKinnon, self-proclaimed genius, is dreading a long, boring summer. Instead, mysterious lights appear in the sky, and sightings occur throughout the following weeks. Roberta is fascinated by the UFO, but she is also obsessed with defeating a fellow science fair enthusiast and exacting revenge on her 13-year-old brother, fixations that find rich parallels with the supposed aliens above. Pelletier effectively depicts a small town with no cell phone reception but plenty of drama. In addition to aliens and vengeance, Roberta’s best friend runs away to prevent her dad from remarrying, the chief of police resigns over the UFO controversy, and Roberta’s beloved grandfather suddenly passes away. Roberta’s arrogance can be grating at times, but she is smart and resilient enough to handle whatever life on earth—and elsewhere—has in store. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.