Meggie and David are all set to enjoy their summer vacation, hanging out with their mother and grandfather, but the town has gotten weirdly obsessed with aliens.Turns out (and very quickly, too-- page 25!) that Meggie's family ARE the aliens, and they must leave earth in a hurry. They can't go back to Chroma, their planet, because it has been so polluted, so they travel to the first likely place that they find, Fashion City. After being discovered sleeping in a park, the people of Fashion City assume that the family has escaped from the Western Provinces, and conveniently help Meggie and her family to settle in. This is easy because "the Fathers" take care of everyone. While this is comforting at first, it becomes more oppressive when the family begins to realize that all choice is limited, music with subliminal messages is broadcast all the time, and anyone who is "grossly unique" is swiftly removed and reprogrammed. Everyone in the community seems to be quite happy to go along with the lock-stepped life that is dictated, and when the grandfather is picked up for his "Vacation 65", the family realizes that they need to escape. Can they locate the grandfather in time? And where will they have to go now?
Strengths: This is a very understandable, middle grade dystopian novel. It is fast-paced, and the world in which the family finds itself is not overly confusing. Had an air of City of Ember about it. I appreciated that it is a gender neutral book, right down to the cover. Quite nice.
Weaknesses: I didn't buy that Elvis and Lincoln and Martin Luther King all somehow ended up in this world, along with several friends of Meggie's. That stretched my credulity for some reason.
This has been getting a fair amount of blog love, so it's definitely a title to check out: