Stuck on Earth

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Stuck on Earth Book Poster Image
Older kids will relate to sci-fi fantasy about misfit teen.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

This book presents an honest picture of humanity's highs and lows. As one counselor says, "The human race can be very ugly. I see it every day in this office. There is a lot of pain. We are destroying our planet...." But ultimately Tom/ Ketchvar does see something good in humans that's worth preserving, stating that "Most humans are doing the best they can." This message might resonate well with readers who are struggling with their own insights about the cruelty of their peers, and of the adult world beyond it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tom/ Ketchvar is a complicated character, but he does try to do the right thing (he even uncovers a big polluting scandal in town). There are other clearly positive role models in this book, including an energetic environmentalist and a caring school counselor. Even Tom's father ultimately tries to do what's best for his family and his son.

Violence

The opening scene in which Ketchvar takes over Tom's body by crawling up his nose may be sort of upsetting to some sensitive readers. There are some bullying episodes, and a school counselor asks Tom if he has violent plans. Later, Tom is chased by men and dogs, and then kidnapped by local bullies who try to kill him.

Sex

Tom and Michelle kiss.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Tom's father spends his days drinking, but it is certainly not glamorous.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the opening scene in which Ketchvar takes over Tom's body by crawling up his nose may be upsetting to some sensitive readers. There are some bullying episodes, and a school counselor asks Tom if he has violent plans. Later, Tom is chased by men and dogs, and then kidnapped by local bullies who try to kill him. But even through all the pain and humiliation, Tom/ Ketchvar does see something good in humans that's worth preserving, stating that "Most humans are doing the best they can." This message might resonate well with readers who are struggling with their own insights about the cruelty of their peers, and of the adult world beyond it.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 year old Written byJack114 April 14, 2011

Good for most people 13+

I am 13. I live in New Jersey. Here are my thoughts on this book that I finished yesterday: it was action packed and exciting throughout. There were sad parts a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byjoE_13 September 22, 2011

An okay book.

It is realy good, but ther are small bad language in it , and at the beging it talks about pregnets.
Teen, 17 years old Written byrshaw4015 December 1, 2011

Awesome

This is a great Book and i think classrooms should read it as a whole

What's the story?

Tom Filber's body has been taken over by an alien name Ketchvar, who must decide the fate of humans on Planet Earth. Or has he? Perhaps Tom is really just a misfit teen who has created an insane fantasy life so as not to face school bullies (and bullying family members) in his painful suburban New Jersey life. Either way, Tom/ Ketchvar has certainly made a case for each side of humanity: both the bad (environmental disasters, cruelty, etc.) and the good, including his very sweet neighbor Michelle.

Is it any good?

This book has a little bit of everything: some romance, adventure, a little environmental awareness, and a compelling mystery right at its heart. Namely: Who or what is controlling Tom Filber's mind and body? The author paces his story well so that readers will start to wonder if it's all a fantasy just as the alien narrator asks, "Am I, Ketchvar III, really a part of Tom Filber, a defense mechanism of his that has taken control for a little while?" Readers will enjoy figuring out the puzzle, which is never fully resolved.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the book's ending. The conclusion allows readers to have their own ideas about what happened to Tom Filber. What do you believe? Was he really taken over by an alien? Do you like conclusions that are open to readers' interpretations or not?

  • Tom experiences a lot of bullying at school. Are there kids who mistreat other kids at school? What have you seen -- and how has the school dealt with it? Have you ever been singled out -- or been tempted to participate in bullying someone else? How could we make it easier for all kids to be accepted?

  • This book's marketing campaign is being tied into the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In the book, Tom goes through some extremes -- including breaking and entering and being chased by security dogs -- in order to prove a local paint company is polluting the town's lake. Can you think of something a little less extreme to help celebrate Earth Day?

Book details

For kids who love fantasy

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