See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, published by Puffin on 2nd March 2017
11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan-named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he'll uncover-from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
I hadn't heard of this title before reading it, so I started it not having any particular expectations of the content. I found myself instantly drawn into Alex's story and ultimately found 'See You In The Cosmos' to be a delightful and entrancing read.
It reminded me a bit of 'Wonder' by R.J. Palacio in the way that I was drawn to the main character of Alex. He is an incredible individual and for an eleven year old boy is both brave and true and very inspirational. When he embarks upon a journey with his dog Carl Sagan, to launch his own rocket into space, he meets an eclectic group of individuals along the way and learns some hard truths about his own family history.
Each chapter is structured like a dialogue by Alex about his journey. His voice is true and authentic and made me love him even more. There should be more characters like him in middle-grade fiction.
The book deals with some serious issues such as mental illness and the affect it can have on a family but the overall message is one of positivity and hope and made me believe that Alex would be alright in the end.
This is a word of mouth treat that is sure to be a big hit in 2017. It most definitely won me over!