Tthe owls.jpgwelve-year-old Simon lives on an Air Force base with his mom and dad. It’s summer vacation, which is fine with Simon except he’s without his best friend who is on a trip to Mexico. Simon spends most days playing video games, writing his own fantasy story, and researching aliens. He’s discovered way too much on the Internet about these possible visitors from space. After a camping trip he’s convinced they’re coming after him. There’s no escape since he also believes they’ve implanted a chip or probe in his stomach.

The tension and creepiness builds in marvelous fashion like a junior version of the X-Files. No nightmares for me but younger readers might not be so fortunate. This felt like an upper MG title perfect for those readers who enjoy a scary story but also realize this is fiction (we hope). As Simon is put on medication and  forced to see a psychiatrist, he realizes everyone thinks he has gone crazy. An older brother and a stereotypical military father are no help. His mother tries to understand, but her compassion doesn’t lead to the same belief that aliens will soon take over civilization as we know it.

The ending was abrupt, and although I saw it coming, it could have been stretched out a bit more and followed with a sequel to replace the prologue. Fans of the recent Dr. Fell and the Playground of Doom, Oddity, or Watch Hollow have another inventive story to feed their desire for frightening events.


Twelve-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens. The ones who take people and do experiments. When he’s too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens—dark and foreboding.

Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role-playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?

Even readers who don’t believe in UFOs will relate to the universal kid feeling of not being taken seriously by adults that deepens this deliciously scary tale.

About Ronald L. Smith

I grew up on Air Force Bases and have lived in Japan, Maine, Alabama, Michigan, Washington, DC, South Carolina, Delaware and a bunch of other places I don’t remember.

I read a lot of books as a kid, especially fantasy and science fiction, and this inspired my lifelong love of the fantastical.

I always knew I would be some sort of writer, and as an adult, found myself drawn to the world of advertising. It was nice to make a living as a real writer, working on big-budget TV commercials and traveling all over the world. I did it for many years, selling everything from cheeseburgers to cars to airlines. During this Mad Men-esque era, I didn’t work on my fiction at all, and focused solely on my career.

(For more visit Ronald’s web site where you will also find links to many of his interviews)

I received a copy of the book for my my honest review.


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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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  1. I agree the ending was quick. I did like the book and think kids will. Thanks for your thoughts.

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