McCoy, Chris. The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion
April 14th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Bennett has always had a crush on neighbor Sophie, and would love to take her to prom, but she has a boyfriend, and Bennett is a little too geeky for her. When he sees her crying one evening, he talks to her and finds out that she has been dumped, and also that her motorcycle is damaged beyond her ability to fix it herself. She asks him to take her to a town near where they live in New Mexico to get it repaired, and in the course of the evening, agrees to go to prom with him. Unfortunately, she is also kidnapped by a alien space vessel! Not knowing quite what to do, Bennett stops by an In-N-Out Burger joint only to discover that a tour bus has bought every last thing in the restaurant. Angered and hungry, he knocks on the bus door, only to find that the occupants are also space aliens, who happen to be touring the galaxy doing concerts. Bennett is himself a musician, and when the group tells him that Sophie is most likely being used as bait in an alien, Survivor-like reality television show, he agrees to go with them to try to rescue her. The lead singer, the egomaniacal Skark, isn't thrilled to have him along, but takes a liking to him, and other band members like Cad, an earthling who took up with the band, help him out. Bennett's musical skills are helpful to the band, which isn't getting the best of gigs, and he eventually manages to save the day.
Strengths: This was a fun YA read that is also appropriate for middle school. It will go over well with fantasy readers who can do realistic fiction from time to time, especially at the end of 8th grade, when many of my readers are tired of the same old dragons and geeky kids saving the world. Loved both Bennett and Sophie, and the band members were fun, too.
Weaknesses: Dragged a bit in the middle when Bennett was dragged to all of the band gigs, but wasn't too bad.
What I really think: Definitely buying a copy. Even though it won't be a huge circulator, it will hit the spot for the right readers.