cover image We’re Not from Here

We’re Not from Here

Geoff Rodkey. Crown, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7304-5

In this postapocalyptic comedy, a family of refugees from an Earth devastated by nuclear war is selected to represent humankind on an alien planet that is reluctant to take them in. The plan was to settle on Planet Choom, already home to several species living in harmony, but in the 20 years it took to travel there, Choom’s dominant race, the insectoid Zhuri, changed their minds, wanting nothing to do with humanity’s violence and emotional ways. As what’s left of humanity orbits the planet, it’s up to Lan Mifune and their family, as the chosen ambassadors, to live among the aliens and somehow persuade them to accept the desperate earthlings. The intentionally vaguely described narrator, Lan, must befriend their unusual classmates while showing that humans can live in peace—and their fondness for comedy proves instrumental in forging a connection with Choom’s denizens. The various alien species feel plausible without straining the imagination, and related physiological and communicational misunderstandings offer amusement galore. Rodkey explores heady concepts such as immigration, tolerance, culture shock, and relative humor in this slapstick-laden allegory, and the story’s lighthearted tone offers an age-appropriate handling of the somber issues and dire circumstances fueling its premise. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Josh Getzler, Hannigan Salky Getzler. (Mar.) [/em]