Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publish Date: February 26, 2013
Source: ALA for honest review
Rating: Direct Hit
Two kids from opposite ends of the country find themselves on a road trip to save the world from an impending alien attack - and bolster their middle-school transcripts in the process.
First came the missing people, missing time events, and untraceable radio signals. Then came Juliette, Arizona, a town that simply disappeared from existence. Suffice it to say, something strange is going on. Enter Haley and Dodger, two kids from opposite sides of the country who both think they can prove that these unexplained phenomena have a very real cause: aliens, and they are about to discover that their fledgling theories about extraterrestrial life are one-hundred-percent accurate.
Having each been awarded a Fellowship for Alien Detection (a grant from a mysterious foundation dedicated to proving aliens have visited earth), Haley and Dodger and their families each set off on a cross-country trip over summer vacation to figure out what is happening to figure out what is happening in towns across America. They soon realize that answers to many of their questions lie in the vanished town of Juliette, AZ, but someone, or something, is doing everything in its power to ensure they never reach it. If Haley and Dodger don't act quickly, more people may go missing, and the world as we know it may change for the worse.
The Fellowship for Alien Detection is the kind of book that reaffirms my love for middle grade. There's adventure, interesting characters, and best of all: aliens.
I like that The Fellowship is told from both Haley and Dodgers point of view for many reasons. 1) Having the point of view of both a boy and a girl makes the story more well-rounded and gives a draw for both genders, 2) it adds more to the mystery since you start out with Haley's side of the story then get Dodger's so the two sides of the story end up coming together to create one (mostly) complete picture, and 3) Haley and Dodger's lives are really different so you get quite a few different dynamics like academic/doesn't care about school much, close family/awkward&distant family, etc.
The mystery in The Fellowship was fantastic. I was hooked from page one and constantly kept on the edge of my seat trying to fit some answers together. Thankfully, everything was answered by the end, though.
The road trip aspect of the story really added to the element of adventure. Haley and Dodger are running from state to state both in escape and pursuit giving the story that extra little charge that kept me flipping pages and eager to find out what happens next. And not to spoil anything, but does it get much more adventurous than flying in a spaceship?
I enjoyed the undertone of Haley and Dodger discovering who they were and finding their places in the world and the contrast between both characters' journey. Haley thought she'd already had everything figured out but ended up discovering she didn't quite know herself as well as she'd thought. Whereas Dodger had always felt lost and ended up discovering things about his past while also figuring out who he really wanted to be and what he believed in.
I do have one small complaint, though. It seemed everything in the story was brown: brown landscape, brown cows with brown eyes, brown seat covers, brown smells. I swear every time I turned there was some new brown thing being described. Now, I know they were in the desert for a chunk of the story and there are, in fact, many brown things in life, but it's okay to use a little creative freedom to make the cows white or the seat covers blue.
The Nutshell: The Fellowship for Alien Detection is a whirlwind of mystery, adventure, and self-discovery. Haley and Dodger each give their own unique voice and point of view to the story making the adventure and mystery all the more thrilling. If you want an adventure wrapped in a mystery with aliens thrown in for good measure, then try The Fellowship for Alien Detection.