It Came From the Sky – Chelsea Sedoti – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 1 August 2020
This is the absolutely true account of how Lansburg, Pennsylvania was invaded by aliens and the weeks of chaos that followed. There were sightings of UFOs, close encounters, and even abductions. There were believers, Truth Seekers, and, above all, people who looked to the sky and hoped for more.
Only…there were no aliens.
Gideon Hofstadt knows what really happened. When one of his science experiments went wrong, he and his older brother blamed the resulting explosion on extraterrestrial activity. And their lie was not only believed by their town―it was embraced. As the brothers go to increasingly greater lengths to keep up the ruse and avoid getting caught, the hoax flourishes. But Gideon’s obsession with their tale threatened his whole world. Can he find a way to banish the aliens before Lansburg, and his life, are changed forever?
Well that was a whole heap of fun. Great plot – tick. Interesting premise – tick. Unique (diverse representation) character voice – tick. Writing style that mixes character narration with document files and interviews with other characters – tick. Laugh out loud funny and with a touch of lgbt romance – tick tick. Seriously It Came From The Sky has it all and is an enjoyable, make-you-smile kind of story.
When a science experiment causes a larger than expected explosion and creates a massive crater on their family farm, Gideon and his brother Ishmael decide to create the most epic prank/sociology research experiment by trying to convince their town that the crater was caused by aliens. Neither of them expect how big the hoax gets, drawing attention nationally and having far reaching consequences.
I loved so much about this book. It’s easy to read – the narrative is all written from Gideon’s perspective broken up by files, text conversations, interview transcripts and other asides. The book is meant to represent Gideon’s research case notes, but it makes for some funny insights.
While the plot is fun and there is never a dull moment as the hoax gets wilder and more complex, my favourite thing about It Came From the Sky is the characters.
Let’s start with Gideon. Gideon knows he isn’t like other kids and he is absolutely okay with that, he wouldn’t want to be like them. He’d much rather experiment in his lab than attend social gatherings. He only trusts his one friend. He approaches life through a scientific lens. He is in a romantic relationship with Owen, a fellow student at school and coworker at the ice cream parlour. And while he is out as gay, he’d rather not have anyone know he and Owen are dating. He looks upon the actions of his brother with disdain, but he also wishes he could have that same ‘easy among other people’ thing, that ease in his own skin. Alongside Owen, who is a wonderful love interest but doesn’t get a huge amount of page time, is Gideon’s best friend Cat, who is dramatic and lots of fun, and side friend Arden, who hangs on the periphery of their group and who Gideon isn’t sure he can trust. While he is pranking (aka studying) the world, Gideon has a lot to learn about people, friendships and relationships. It’s great to see him grow a little, but I also totally relate to his viewpoint and I love how he stays uniquely him.
I also really loved Gideon’s family. His mother, father, Gram, brother and sister all each bring so much to the story. There are so many sides to this story and each of the characters are so well developed. Sometimes, we readers only got a glimpse of these extra characters, like Gideon’s sister Maggie, yet it was so easy to feel her. And she is scary awesome.
This is going to be one of those books where I just smile as I push it into a readers hands and say, yes, it’s kind of about aliens, but just read it. I know you’ll love it. And I’m pretty sure you will. Because who doesn’t love a funny, crazy story about aliens, family, brothers, giant lava lamps, pyramid schemes, avoiding arrest from the FBI and basically pranking the whole nation.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: aliens, pranks, hoax, brothers, friendship, lgbt relationships,
Reading age guide: Ages 13/14 and up.
Advisory: Coarse language, f*** (7), sh** (16), as***** (6), pi** (1). Sexual References – references to sexual relationships of another character and possible statutory rape. Not details, just inferred.
Published: 1 August 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 512 pages.