“I haven't read anything that has moved me this much since Wonder.” —Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places
A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s, Walk Two Moons, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.
"Stellar." —Entertainment Weekly
“Life-embracing.” —The Wall Street Journal
"Works beautifully." —The New York Times Book Review
“Irresistible.” —The Chicago Tribune
“The best I've read in a long, long time.” —Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s
“Riveting, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious.” —Kirkus, starred review
“A propulsive stream-of-conscious dive.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A gift—a miracle.” —Paul Griffin, author When Friendship Followed Me Home
"Full of the real kind of magic." —Ally Condie, author of Matched
"Absorbing, irresistible." —Common Sense Media
"Full of innocence and unwavering optimism." —SLC
"Inspiring." —Time for Kids
“Powerfully affirms our human capacity for grace and love and understanding.” —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now
Alex Petroski, the idiosyncratic 11-year-old narrator of Cheng's poignant and funny first novel, dutifully records his thoughts and adventures into an iPod, "so when intelligent beings millions of light-years away find it one day they'll know what Earth was like." The result is a propulsive stream-of-conscious dive into Alex's life as he sets off alone from Colorado with his dog, Carl Sagan (named after Alex's personal hero), to launch the iPod into space at the Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival in New Mexico. There, he encounters an eclectic cast of rocket enthusiasts and persuades two new adult friends, one of whom has taken a vow of silence, to take him to Las Vegas to track down his supposedly dead father. The trip continues as Alex meets his half-sister, resolves the mystery about his father, and travels on to Los Angeles to find his older brother. Details about his mother and her "quiet days," mentioned throughout, take on increasing importance, especially once Alex returns home. Alex's strong voice drives this compelling personal journey with resonant themes of family, friendship, and resilience. Ages 10 up. This review has been corrected to reflect an updated title for the book.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This book was the best things i have ever read in my life
The first book to make me cry
Its sad but very very good. This book was so good that I like it as much as wonder😥😂😥