See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Publication date: 2nd March 2017

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This is the story of 11 year old Alex (13 in responsibility years) told through his audio recordings made on his golden iPod in the hope it will, one day, be heard by extraterrestrials.

Obsessed by rockets, he has built his own and planned his trip to SHARF. His dad is dead, his mum is having too many quiet days and his brother lives and works in LA, so he’s going to have to go it alone. But that’s ok, he’s cooked enough food for his mum while he’s away, packed his bags – including his 2in1 shampoo/conditioner – arranged to meet with his internet friends from RocketForum, booked his train tickets and with his dog, Carl Sagan, he’s ready for his adventure…

His story touches on big issues; mental health, being a young carer, loss, grief, internet safety, stranger danger, all of which are handled with a hopeful sensitivity. So many aspects of Alex’s story are jaw-droppingly awful to read as an adult – a child neglected by his mother and brother, not that he ever sees it that way. While in many ways he is so much older than his years, his voice is full of childhood innocence. When he’s happy, he laughs; when he’s upset he hurricanes from his eyes.

A quirky, debut full of adventure for children, that asks big questions, and Alex does his best to answer.“What if the times when we feel love and act brave and tell the truth are all the times we’re four-dimensional…”

I really want to love this book, but the recordings style didn’t work for me. I never really found myself immersed in Alex’s world, except during a few conversations. I do think, however, I’d adore it as an audiobook. That said, it’s a matter of personal preference, and the story is as delightful as it is disturbing, and it’s one I’ll be recommending.

Proof courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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