THE PLOT: Mary Day’s life has always been different, because her little brother, Albie, is different. He doesn’t speak, but he can communicate with Mary via mental telepathy, sending her—and her alone—“mind memos.” To Albie, Mary is Pearl, the person he holds most precious. Then, one snowy day, Albie transmits an alarming two-word message: Bad order. Soon after, Mary and her best friend, Brit, discover a mysterious red mist in the woods that seems to draw them in . . . and turn all their feelings negative. A visit from three extraterrestrials (hilariously trying to pass as human) reveals the truth: there’s a disastrous leak in the dimensional universe—and if Albie can’t repair it, angry, evil thoughts will overtake the entire population. Can Mary, Brit, Brit’s brother Lars, and Albie save the world? And will Mary finally realize that she, like Albie, has something special inside herself? (From AMAZON)
PUBLISHED: 2019 PAGE COUNT: 224
MY REACTION: Take one part of the popular cable program Stranger Things, mix in a dose of Men in Black, and add a dash or two of the child like innocence of ET. What turns out is a unique story sure to please science fiction fans and pull in more us contemporary readers along the way.
Most of the chapters are told from 13-year-old Mary’s point of view, only deviating with an initial chapter about Albie and soon followed by one focused on the extraterrestrials. She’s spunky, honest, and a strong female lead. The 40 chapters are short and almost always end with a page turning cliffhanger (Read one in my favorite lines below).
The mom and grandmother stay clear of the action (they get stuck in another town due to a road closure) giving Mary, Albie, and their friends, Britt and Lars full control of what occurs. Geared toward grades 3-7, I’d recommend this intriguing tale to the upper end of that range given the small amounts of violence and language.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT:
BAD ORDER by B.B. Ullman
- The theme is a powerful one and shines through to the end: Together we can believe in the good of humankind for a positive future.
- Take away the fantasy side of the story and you have a set of believable characters who have all the normal kid concerns of growing up.
- I once owned a VW Bug and I had to laugh at how it was used in the plot.
- The reason as to why Albie doesn’t talk was a total surprise. A nice tie in to the dad Mary barely knew or understood.
- Comedy is provided by the aliens—Commodore, Med Tech Tek, and Citizen Lady. They aren’t quite ready for what awaits them in the human world
Pearl! Albert’s memo seemed to slap me, interrupting my dark train of thought. He filled my brain with a cold, empty memo. The cold cleanliness of it squeezed out the red fever and froze the bad thoughts. In the middle of this cool, clean memo there was a tiny red thought, and the thought said RUN!
A TIDBIT FROM B.B. ULLMAN
I’ve lived in Washington State since I was born, and in Western Washington most of my life. I think it’s the best place to live; not too hot, not too cold, and certainly not too dry.
I was always the kid who liked art. I drew and doodled and painted all my life. I liked to write, too, but I knew I could never record the staggering number of words that a book would require.
(For more on her books and how she gets them written visit Barb’s Website)
I received a copy from the publisher for my honest review. If you have time, please comment below.
Stranger, Things, Men in Black, and E.T. That is quite the combination. This sounds like it will keep the kiddoes reading. Thanks for the review.
This sounds like a great story–both for me and my nephews! I’m especially intrigued by those alien names. 😀 Thanks for the recommendation, and happy MMGM!
Clearly I need to have a better understanding of Stranger Things, since so many books are being compared to it. I’ll have to take a look at this one, although alien books are a bit of a hard sell with my students– they prefer space adventure.
Keep passing on Stranger Things (Netflix), but maybe I need to watch it. This sounds like an engaging plot that will interest kids. Will have to admit, I was surprised by Karen Yingling’s comments about kids preferring space adventure over alien books. Kids know so much more about space travel than we did, especially with projected trips to Mars and who knows where else in their lifetimes. But, I’m sure there is an audience for this book and it is the perfect summer read.
This one sounds unique and thought-provoking. The cover is engaging, too. Thanks for sharing this one with us for MMGM, Greg.
I’ll have to check this one out!