by Clete Barrett Smith

Reviewer Rating:


David, otherwise known as “Scrub,” is understandably upset when his busy parents decide to send him to the “Middle of Nowhere” Washington to stay with his grandmother over the summer break.  Instead of staying in Florida and hanging out with his friends by the pool or shooting hoops, all Scrub gets to look forward to is an extended stay with his not-altogether-there, hippy grandmother who runs an “Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast.”  If that didn’t give Scrub an indication of her (in)sanity, the residents of the small town are not shy of expressing their own suspicions…especially the town sheriff, who thinks that there may be something more going on at Grandma’s bed and breakfast than just strange-looking guests.

Scrub soon finds out that the sheriff’s suspicions are entirely correct: all his grandmother’s guests are, in fact, aliens from all points across the galaxy!  His grandmother soon puts him in charge of helping her disguise her guests, making “food” runs into town (the food mainly consisting of gallons of bleach and dozens of boxes of tin foil), and taking some alien kids camping in the nearby woods.  Scrub finds that he actually likes helping Grandma out around the bed and breakfast…if only it weren’t for the inquisitive, alien-obsessed girl, Amy, who keeps trying to befriend him.  Not that Scrub dislikes her—in fact, he feels the exact opposite!—but her intense interest in his grandmother’s business is unnerving.  And it could also be because her father just happens to be the suspicious town sheriff.

When the camping trip with the alien kids goes horribly awry and his grandmother’s bed and breakfast could be shut down forever, Scrub must do some quick-thinking to save it.

I enjoyed the creativity and humor in this middle grade read, even though I generally tend to shy away from science fiction.  While I thought it bogged down a bit in the middle, Scrub, Amy, Grandma, and Mr. Harnox were likeable characters to root for and there were enough plot twists to keep the story entertaining.   The way Scrub matured over the summer at Grandma’s was believable and realistic.  I think this book would go over well with middle school boys looking for a solid science fiction story.

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