Monday, December 9, 2019

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith - NO

The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith, 215 pages. Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 2019. $17. 

Language: PG (several minor swears) Mature Content: PG Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – NOT RECOMMENDED

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

12-year-old Simon, is obsessed with aliens and he’s convinced the government is involved in a big alien cover-up. While on a camping trip with his family, Simon passes out and later finds a scar on his belly. He’s sure he was abducted by aliens and implanted with a tracking device. His parents think he’s troubled and sends him to a psychiatrist who puts him on meds. His friends are sympathetic, but can only do so much. With no adults taking him seriously, Simon takes matters into his own hands and attempts to cut out the tracking device. 

This one is a bit on the weird side. The big question about whether Simon is a troubled boy or whether he was truly abducted by aliens is not answered. The attempted self-surgery is a little unsettling, especially because the adults assume he was trying to commit suicide. The author’s point is not clear. The reader must side with an alien-obsessed kid or doubting adults. Neither option is good, creating an uncomfortable situation.

Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, MLIS

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