Mock Newbery Nominee: See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Welcome to the first installment of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews. Will See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng earn your vote for our Mock Newbery Award? Read on to find out what makes this realistic and moving story special and let us know what you think.

Let's start off with the book cover description, "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."

This is the first book I read during 2017 that made a lasting impression on me. The iPod transcript provided a unique storytelling perspective, one that may date the book, but that will certainly resonate with the intended audience. Alex is a very logical character with a certain naivety about adult relationships that hits very authentically. The people he meets are all distinctly human characters, with differing and complex motivations. The found family theme runs strong throughout the story particularly as the bonds of Alex's biological family start to fray. While this story follows the idea that things get worse before they get better, it also renewed my sense of human decency as the people Alex meets on his journey all come together to help him when he needs them most.

Voting begins on December 1st on our Kid's Page.

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