Dec 5, 2011
Title: First Day on Earth
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Source: Scholastic Canada for review.
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.
After his father left them years ago, Mal’s mother is broken, turning to alcohol each day and leaving Mal to face the world all on his own. At school he’s an outsider, never able to fit in with the norm. With very few friends, and teachers who have given up on having him follow the rules, Mal wanders the hallways past the bell signaling the start of class and enters the classrooms whenever he feels he should.
Mal feels different from everyone else, as thought he’s been touched by something unexplainable, never allowing him to be normal. Mal is convinced that he was abducted by aliens when he was younger and feels a connection he can’t possibly explain to others. Ever since the abduction, Mal believes he must return to outer space, as though that is where he truly belongs.
When Mal meets Hooper, a homeless man who claims that he’s an alien trying to get back to his home on another planet, Mal agrees to help him get there. Not only does Mal want to help Hooper get home, he also wants Hooper to take him along…
This is a wonderful short read about a boy who doesn’t feel comfortable in his own skin. He believes that there is something out there in space, something he can’t explain, and somewhere he truly belongs. Battling himself as well as others who try to convince him otherwise, that this is his home and that there’s nothing for him out there.
My favorite element of First Day on Earth was Cecil Castellucci’s unique writing style of developing her stories in many short chapters. I feel that by having them being so short, as well as having chapters with simply one word or sentence had a greater overall impact.
Another element which I enjoyed is how the novel is written from a boy’s perspective. The writing in First Day on Earth definitely reflects a boy’s point of view, short, direct, and to the point. I sympathized with Mal throughout the entire novel. He is a wonderful character that many can relate to, and his story is truly worth reading.
I also appreciated that First Day on Earth is an open-ended novel, meant to encourage readers to come up with their own ending. My personal take on the ending is that Mal must let go of the person he wants to be, and accept the person he is. He shouldn’t feel the need to find a place where he belongs, but accept that this is his home, that he isn’t like everyone else and love himself in order for others to love him back.
Cecil Castellucci is a fantastic story teller who’s words share hidden meaning that will touch not only one, but that will touch many in different ways. I recommend First Day on Earth to those who enjoy Young Adult Fiction.
Must Read! Highly Recommended!
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.**
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