There have been a lot of books written through letters, emails, situation reports - but this is the first I have read that is written in podcasts. Author Jack Cheng says that he loves writing dialogue, so choosing to write the story in this way allowed him to write almost entirely in dialogue. Protagonist Alex is an eleven-year-old (but at least thirteen in responsibility years), who travels to a large rocket festival with hopes to launch a rocket into space carrying a golden iPod (to imitate his hero Carl Sagan's Golden Record). Along the way he meets lots of online friends, makes new friends, and even finds some unexpected things about his own family.
Alex is a very self-sufficient tween. He does the shopping and cooking for himself and his mom, figures out how to travel to the rocket festival, and has even found a small job at a local gas station. Despite all the responsibility of caring for his mom, he hasn't lost his faith in the universe and wants to follow in his hero's footsteps and always search for the truth. Looking at the world from the viewpoint of such a highly intelligent, curious, and affectionate child makes the reader see things in a new way.
Something Alex says really sums up everything he (and we), learn from his journey. "What if the times when we feel love and act brave and tell the truth are all the times when we're four-dimensional, the times we're as big and everywhere as the cosmos, the times when we remember, like, REALLY remember, really KNOW, that we're made of starstuff and we're human beings from the planet Earth..." We can all use a reminder now and then that we are made of starstuff.
Recommended for middle grades and up. Great for readers who enjoy realistic fiction with great characters, humorous moments, and times when your heart feels a direct connection to the action.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.