Ketchvar III's mission is simple: travel to Planet Earth, inhabit the body of an average teenager, and determine if the human race should be annihilated. And so Ketchvar—who, to human eyes, looks just like a common snail—crawls into the brain of one Tom Filber and attempts to do his analysis. At first glance, Tom appears to be the perfect specimen—fourteen years old, good health, above average intelligence. But it soon becomes apparent that Tom Filber may be a little too average—gawky, awkward, and utterly abhorred by his peers. An alien within an alien's skin, Ketchvar quickly finds himself wrapped up in the daily drama of teenage life—infuriating family members, raging bullies, and undeniably beautiful next-door neighbors. And the more entangled Ketchvar becomes, the harder it is to answer the question he was sent to Earth to resolve: Should the Sandovinians release the Gagnerian Death Ray and erase the human species for good? Or is it possible that Homo sapiens really are worth saving?
Wickedly wry and hysterically skewed, David Klass's take on teen life on our fabulously flawed Planet Earth is an engrossing look at true friends, truer enemies, and awkward alien first kisses.
Stuck on Earth is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
When an alien snail named Ketchvar III takes over 14-year-old Tom Filber's body, he tends to agree with Galactic Confederation ethicists that "we owe it to weak and vulnerable Homo sapiens to euthanize the species" before humans destroy the environment and themselves. But even though he suffers high school at its worst, he is inspired by some people he meets a lonely neighbor; his passionate environmental club adviser and begins drawing another conclusion. Ketchvar's cerebral narration is the book's hallmark ("My new theory is that school serves the purpose of narrowing the horizons of young Homo sapiens and conditioning them to accept mediocrity"); it becomes increasingly moving as the question arises of whether Ketchvar is real or if this is a construct Tom uses to deal with his disintegrating home life and general unhappiness. The narrator's well-timed surveillance of a polluting paint factory is too convenient, but Klass's (the Caretaker Trilogy) thoughtful, often wrenching book offers plenty to think about, from what's really going on in Tom's head to questions about human responsibility to the planet and each other. It takes "alienation" to a whole new level. Ages 11 14.