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The True Meaning of Smekday

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The True Meaning of Smekday Book Poster Image
Alien invasion is comical and fun, but too long.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Some racial tension.


Much cartoonish violence: a man is hit on the head and knocked out, weapons cause explosions and fire, references to alien body parts after an explosion.


A reference to how babies are made, human and Boovish.


Assorted mild swearing: "Hell," "Jesus," "ass," "boob," etc.


Car brand mentioned. Most of the other products named are imaginary spoofs on real products and places, especially DisneyWorld.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several types of alcohol mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's some cartoonish violence in this book that inspired the movie Home, with science-fictiony weapons that vaporize things, and lots of explosions. Once character is knocked out, and otherwise only non-character aliens are hurt. There's also some mild swearing. The main character, Gratuity, talks about her mom stuffing Gratuity's Christmas stocking, which could burst any Santa bubbles kids are holding on to.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7 and 16 year old Written byroseb March 14, 2010
I am a 48 year old home school mom who read this book after hearing my 16 year old daughter laughing uproariously throughout the two days in which she devoured... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byBAJH February 20, 2013


We had lots of laughs together reading this book. A bit lengthy and too much detail in the middle, but overall a good read.
Kid, 12 years old August 7, 2011

Really Quite Good

This book is definitely one of my top, like, five favorites. It was one of those books that, though quite long, seemed short. I am a huge reader, and I found my... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byRockyBalboa June 19, 2012


OMG sooooo funny! Im 12, and its my favorite book!

What's the story?

In essays for school and a time-capsule contest, Gratuity Tucci describes her cross-country road trip with a Boov alien she calls J.Lo. The Earth has been invaded, her mother kidnapped, and all Americans are herded into a reservation in Arizona. From there she and J.Lo work to stop yet another invasion by even worse aliens, the Nimrogs, who were inadvertently drawn to Earth by J.Lo.

Is it any good?

This is good, silly fun. It's the kind of story in which the main characters bicker over a walkie-talkie about what to call their plan (Operation: Catastrophe vs. Operation: Piggyback, both puns) even while running and being shot at by marauding alien monsters. And the evil alien monsters love fighting and musical theater, and "fought one another in a three-hundred-year-old civil war that is believed to have started over a parking space." You know, the kind of goofy, off-the-wall humor that many kids think is just hilarious.

Illustrated with a few comic strips (could have used more of those) and other drawings, the book bogs down in places, and would have benefitted from a firmer editorial hand: lopping off about 150 pages would have done the story no harm and done more to hold the interests of the kind of kids who will be drawn to something like this. Still, this will be a popular choice for fans of Terry Pratchett and Larry Gonick, and, with its abundance of strange creatures, whacky scenes, and silly accents and voices, it should make a great read-aloud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the issues the author raises. What are the parallels between what the Boovs do to humans and what Europeans did to Native Americans?

  • Are the Boovs ultimately good or bad? What do you think of the way Americans organized themselves in Arizona? What do you think would really happen if all Americans were shipped to Arizona?

Book details

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