Emerson, Kevin. The Fellowship for Alien Detection.
26 February 2013, Walden Pond Press
ARC Received from Publisher
Haley wants to be a newspaper reporter and is extremely interested in alien life forms, so when she gets a summer fellowship from the Gavin Kellar foundation, she's thrilled. She gets to investigate at her discretion, and her family gets a free cross country car trip as well! Haley is starting with the story of Suza Raines, who was reported missing after many towns in her area had problems with unnatural phenomena. Haley wants to check out this area and talk with Suza's sister. The other winner of a fellowship is Dodger, whose real estate selling father has fallen on hard times, so has no objection to a long car trip, either. Dodger has been plagued by visions of a town called Juliette-- he hears radio broadcasts in his brain from this town. In the beginning of his journey, Dodger finds out that he may have been abducted by aliens when he was two, which might explain some of his unusual brain activity.
When the foundation finds out about some of Haley's discoveries involving United Consolidated Amalgamates, Haley is told to come home because she is in danger. When she insists on continuing her journey, a strange guy named Alto is sent from the foundation to help her continue investigating without involving her parents. Eventually, they meet up with Dodger, who has been finding out many things on his own. Once the two converge, things start to get really hectic. It turns out that the disturbances Haley and Dodger have been investigating are because of the Paha'Ne who had to flee their planet after a supernova and who are well on their way to figuring out how to find a new home for the inhabitants... on earth!
Strengths: Finally, some science fiction that is not of the futuristic/dystopian variety. I liked how this was set up in three distinct sections: Haley's journey, Dodger's journey, and then when they work together and are able to tie together all of the different bits of information. There is a LOT of action and adventure, chasing around in the south west, as well as evil aliens. I didn't see the ending coming, so it was hard to describe the book without giving too much away. I also really enjoyed the characters of Haley and Dodger.
Weaknesses: The length. At 428 pages, this might be a tough sell. If it were a medieval fantasy, that would be a perfectly acceptable length, but my space alien readers tend to like books that are a bit shorter. While the family interactions were amusing, I might have cut those out to make the book move more quickly.
Personality leakage for the day: I've had a lot of books come to grief lately. It's making me cranky. I spent about fifteen minutes of my study hall flat ironing the edges of a book because it was returned damp. A mini flat iron is a great thing to have about the library-- as long as a book isn't very wet, and the moisture is just at the edges, a flat iron, carefully wielded, can do a good job drying out a book.