It Came from the Sky by Chelsea Sedoti
Book Review by Giles
It Came From the Sky by Chelsea Sedoti, sounded like a fun book to read and I wasn’t disappointed. The publisher’s description intrigued me: “Gideon and Ishmael Hofstadt, ages sixteen and seventeen, accidentally start a hoax that aliens have landed, turning their town of Lansburg, Pennsylvania, into a circus. Told through narrative, police interviews, text messages, blog posts, and more.”
I was curious to find out how the story could be told like this. I thought it would be difficult to do but the author did a fantastic job developing the characters and their relationships with one another. The story flows seamlessly. Each text, blog post, interview, and report give readers important information from the viewpoints of different characters. The different media used results in the chapters being short and easy to read.
The story begins with Ishmael messing up one of Gideon’s science experiments. The blast from the experiment is the catalyst for the hoax. Ishmael suggests extraterrestrial activity as an explanation for the crater left by the blast. Gideon goes along with it and the brothers go to great lengths to keep the hoax going so that they aren’t caught. Gideon is reluctant to keep it going but then he decides that the hoax can be a sociological experiment where he can record his research findings in a case study. Ishmael sees the hoax as the greatest prank of all time.
More lies lead to the hoax becoming increasingly wilder and more complex. Soon the hoax is out of control. People are seeing UFOs, having close encounters of the third kind, and even claiming that they were abducted by aliens. There are plenty of hilarious moments in the story, thanks to the hoax.
Suddenly, the story shifts gears. Some nefarious things are going on in the small town and it’s up to Gideon to figure out what is happening. I wasn’t expecting a villain in this story. This subplot concerns sensitive material about grooming and pedophilia. I was a little surprised by this turn of events in the book. It seemed to come out of nowhere.
One of the themes of this story is family and friendship. As there weren’t too many characters, it wasn’t hard to keep track of all the relationships. The characters were well-developed. The author added lots of details to show their personalities, motivations, and desires. It was nice to read a story about a family that wasn’t dysfunctional. Gideon’s family and their interactions were believable. The family’s interesting, unconventional, and quirky.
Gideon’s not a stereotypical science nerd that you might see on tv or in the movies. He’s an introverted, gay teenager who struggles with his relationships with his family, friends, and his on-again off-again boyfriend, Owen. He worries about his grades and his future. I think that Gideon experienced a lot of personal growth through the events of the story.
There was never a dull moment in this book. It was chaotic, hilarious, reckless, heartwarming, nerve-racking, adventurous, and upsetting all rolled into one. This book was a page turner for me, but it wasn’t due to a build-up of tension. It was a page turner because I was invested in finding out what was going to happen next to Gideon. He’s a very likable character. I recommend this book. It’s a fun, fast read. I enjoyed it.