cover image It Came from the Sky

It Came from the Sky

Chelsea Sedoti. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4926-7302-6

It is clear from the start that this clever tale by Sedoti (As You Wish) isn’t about alien encounters but rather about a hoax perpetrated by Gideon Hofstadt, 16, with the help of his brother, 17-year-old Ishmael, in Lansburg, Pa. After Gideon breaks his rule against letting Ishmael help with science experiments, the resulting explosion necessitates that the siblings come up with an excuse for the crater on their parents’ farm. After storyteller Ishmael ramps their original excuse into an alien encounter, the two continue the story, Gideon as a sociological experiment to help him get into MIT, Ishmael as an epic senior prank. Things quickly spiral out of control, however, with the arrival of UFO hunters and CEO J. Quincy Oswald, a combination con man and cult leader who claims to have had his own alien encounters. Meanwhile, insecure introvert Gideon is convinced that his relationship with popular Owen Campbell is doomed to failure, and is therefore reluctant to make things public. As the hoax snowballs, then unravels, it complicates Gideon’s relationship with Owen, his friends, and his family. Sedoti will draw readers in with the outrageous situation and the town’s amusing aspects, such as a 63-foot lava lamp, but she truly excels with Gideon—a unique character whose desire for recognition and achievement is universal. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary. (Aug.) [/em]