This alien story comes from As You Wish author Chelsea Sedoti. Unlike the magical world in that book, this one stays perfectly in our magic less realm.
Gideon likes doing science experiments in the shed. One day, while working a seismograph, his brother causes his test to go awry and making a big explosion on their parent’s farm. At first, the white lie covers up the danger of explosion but then it morphs quickly into a tale of extraterrestrial beings. Gideon, at first, fights this misconception but gives in when he sees it as a sociological experiment and one that gets him into MIT.
I enjoyed the main voice being someone who is not neurotypical. Gideon never has it all together. His thought differently than his friends and his voice will resonant with many readers. The author makes no big deal about this aspect of his character by labeling and bringing attention, Gideon just is without expectation.
The rest of the characters. However, are all flat. Despite this, I loved Ishmael. He is a lovable oaf and this plays off Gideon’s seriousness well. Other characters don’t fare so well. The sister seemed out of place and really didn’t interact with Gideon so the readers didn’t really get to know her or her motivations a well.
Story-wise, I was at first intrigued about the hoax. I enjoyed aliens in history including the variety of hoaxes and misconceptions. So thigh splayed in my wheelhouse. But the book pivots making a villain out of a Multi-Level Marketing CEO. Comparing the characters hoaxes seemed a little extreme. I’m not big into MLMs and know for most people it’s just a pyramid scheme gone wrong. But I know friends who have made it a business and who will be mighty pissed at this idea. There are many an example of modern cults that might have been a much better match in gravity. But I wonder if the author moved away from religion on purpose as that might cause even more bad attitudes from parents than calling out their Mary Kay or Avon.
While the first half of the book pulled me on, I was unsatisfied with the ending. There wasn’t a big enough payout. The main character makes some introspective changes but nothing but the punishments for the hoax is pretty nonexistence. I wanted to see how do you handle that? What would actually happen in the real world if these kids had been caught?
Overall I was disappointed in It Came From the Sky having read As You Wish. While there are some good aspects to this tale, the ending of the hoax leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Publication Date: August 1
I received an ARC from the publisher for review; all opinions are my own.
Bonus: As You Wish
As You Wish is a cautionary tale about getting what you want especially at an age where you don’t even truly know what you want.
In Madison, a small town outside of Rachel (UFO headquarters) Nevada, each citizen gets a wish on their 18 birthday. The wishes run the gambit of normal things such as love and money, but many wishes are deeper like keeping their father’s business running. Eldon is about to turn 18 and he doesn’t know what to wish, but everyone else seems to have an idea. Eldon must decide who he is and how he wants to change his life.
Sedoti hows what it’s like to be a teen and adds something huge on top of their normal lives (rather akin to picking a college and choosing a path of study). The novel chronicles how each teen deals with this immense privilege/chore reaching back into the town’s history as well as present-day stories. We see a variety of wishes and dreams and how they work out for each person. This lets us into each person’s head or just a bit proving, once again, we don’t know what’s really going on inside someone.
While I did call Eldon’s wish before he ever decided what he wanted, I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. The ending backs up one of the morals of the books and I was really pleased with how it turned out.