cover image Alienated


Andrew Auseon, , created by David O. Russell. . S&S/Aladdin, $16.99 (344pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-8298-2

Auseon (Jo-Jo and the Fiendish Lot ), working from a concept by screenwriter/director Russell, turns in a wacky but underwhelming tale of aliens, friendship and young love. Gene, an excitable eighth-grader whose fingerprints are falling off, and Vince, his bookish best friend, run the Globe , a newsweekly that profiles the aliens hiding out among us. They get this info by pilfering the address book of Gene's cousin Fred, who knows all of the local aliens, but they don't realize that their newsletter is attracting the attention of powerful aliens. These include a local high school guidance counselor named Walter, who is actually the nephew of the malevolent alien Vargon. And worse, he's the good guy, on the run from something even more threatening. Auseon hits some nice, zany notes—the descriptions of some classmates are great (one hyperactive kid at a football game “tackled the homecoming queen, just because no one had stopped him in time”), as are the alien powers. But the story devolves into a silly mess without providing either serious character moments or truly memorable humor. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)