When twelve-year-old Gratuity ("Tip" to her friends) sets out to write five pages on "The True Meaning of Smekday" for the National Time Capsule contest, she realizes that her biggest problem is limiting her story to five pages. It all started when her mom started telling everyone that aliens were sending messages through a mole on the back of her neck. Tip and everyone else thought she'd gone off the deep end until Christmas Eve, when huge spaceships descended on the Earth. Then the aliens--known as the Boov--abducted Tip's mother, leaving her alone with her cat, Pig. Before long, the Boov had taken over and declared Earth a colony, named it "Smekland" (in honor of the glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida. In a small act of defiance, Tip decides to drive to Florida instead of riding in the Boov-sanctioned rocketpods. This last-minute road trip leads Tip on a journey that involves striking up an unlikely friendship with a Boov named J. Lo; traveling across the country in a hovercar called Slushious; finding her mother; and maybe just saving the world from yet another alien race, the bloodthirsty Gorg.
This is one of the best children's books I've read in a while. I love all the goofy randomness. Tip is feisty and totally lovable, and I love the way that she follows her heart and sticks up for her family and what she believes in. Definitely sends a good message. I loved J.Lo too--the little guy has a lot of heart. The plot goes all over the place and is completely ridiculous, but I think it's perfect for keeping kids on their toes. I just enjoyed the ride. I loved all the little pictures and comics, but I also listened to part of it on audio and it was fantastic. So basically you need to get the paper copy and the audio. You can thank me later!