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See You in the Cosmos
Cover of See You in the Cosmos
See You in the Cosmos
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“I haven't read anything that has moved me this much since Wonder.” —Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright PlacesA space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a...
“I haven't read anything that has moved me this much since Wonder.” —Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright PlacesA space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a...
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  • “I haven't read anything that has moved me this much since Wonder.” —Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places
    A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7sWalk Two Moons, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

     
    11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.
     
    Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.
    "Stellar." —Entertainment Weekly
    “Life-embracing.” —The Wall Street Journal
    "Works beautifully." The New York Times Book Review
    “Irresistible.” The Chicago Tribune
    “The best I've read in a long, long time.” —Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s
    “Riveting, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious.” —Kirkus, starred review
    “A propulsive stream-of-conscious dive.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
    “A gift—a miracle.” —Paul Griffin, author When Friendship Followed Me Home
    “Exuberant.” —Booklist
    "Full of the real kind of magic." —Ally Condie, author of Matched 
    "Absorbing, irresistible." —Common Sense Media
    “Incredible.”
     —BookRiot
    "Full of innocence and unwavering optimism." —SLC
    "Inspiring." —Time for Kids
    “Powerfully affirms our human capacity for grace and love and understanding.” —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    New Recording 1

    6m 19s

    Who are you?

    What do you look like?

    Do you have one head or two?

    More?

    Do you have light brown skin like I do or smooth gray skin like a dolphin or spiky green skin like a cactus?

    Do you live in a house?

    I live in a house. My name is Alex Petroski and my house is in Rockview, Colorado, United States of America, planet Earth. I am eleven years and eight months old and the United States is two hundred forty-two years old and Earth is 4.5 billion years old. I'm not sure how old my house is.

    Maybe you live on an ice planet, so instead of houses you have igloos and your hands are icepicks and your feet are snowshoes and you're covered in gold-brown fur like Carl Sagan. That's my dog. I named him after my hero, Dr. Carl Sagan, who was one of the greatest astronomers of our time. Dr. Sagan helped send Voyagers 1 and 2 into deep space and put a Golden Record on them with all kinds of sounds from our planet, like whales singing and people saying hello in fifty-five languages, and the laugh of a newborn baby and the brainwaves of a woman in love and mankind's greatest music like Bach and Beethoven and Chuck Berry. Maybe you've heard it?

    I found my pup Carl Sagan in the parking lot at Safeway, and when I saw him he was dirty and hungry and hiding behind a dumpster. I said, Come here boy, don't be scared, but he was crying and curling his tail because we were still strangers at that point. I told him I'm not going to hurt him, I'm a pacifist, and I guess he believed me because when I picked him up he didn't even fight me or try to run. Then I took him back to my house and my mom was lying on the sofa watching her shows like she usually does, and I told her I got the groceries but I got a pup also and I'll take good care of him I promise, I'll play with him and feed him and give him a bath and all the stuff you're supposed to say.

    And she said, You're in the way! So I got out of the way. My best friend Benji's mom would freak if he brought home a pup, but my mom, she doesn't care as long as I make us dinner and don't bother her when she's watching her shows. She's a pretty cool mom.

    I don't know what kind of shows you guys have but the ones my mom likes are game shows and judge shows and shows with five ladies sitting in a fake living room. When I'm at Benji's house we watch Cartoon Network because his family has On Demand, and Benji loves Battlemorph Academy and so do a lot of the kids at school. I think that show's OK but I prefer the more classic cartoons likeDexter's Laboratory to be honest. That Dexter is one smart kid. I hate it when his sister Didi goes in and messes up everything. I'm glad I don't have a sister to mess up my stuff, especially when I'm working on my rocket.

    I do have an older brother though. His name is Ronnie but everyone calls him RJ except my mom and me and some of his old high school friends because his middle name is James. Ronnie's a lot older, he's more than twice how old I am. He's twenty-four. He lives in Los Angeles and his job is an agent, and I know what you're thinking but he's not that kind of agent. He's not a spy or Bond, James Bond kind of agent. He doesn't fight terrorists or bust drug dealers or play poker with super-villains. He helps basketball and football players get shoe commercials. But he does go to fancy parties and wear sunglasses, so I guess it's kind of the same.

    Ronnie wouldn't let me keep Carl Sagan at first. He never likes it when my mom and me spend his money on stuff that isn't groceries or bills for our house. When I told him about Carl Sagan over the phone he said, Uh-uh, we can't...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from December 5, 2016
    Alex Petroski, the idiosyncratic 11-year-old narrator of Cheng’s poignant and funny first novel, dutifully records his thoughts and adventures into an iPod, “so when intelligent beings millions of light-years away find it one day they’ll know what Earth was like.” The result is a propulsive stream-of-conscious dive into Alex’s life as he sets off alone from Colorado with his dog, Carl Sagan (named after Alex’s personal hero), to launch the iPod into space at the Southwest High-Altitude Rocket Festival in New Mexico. There, he encounters an eclectic cast of rocket enthusiasts and persuades two new adult friends, one of whom has taken a vow of silence, to take him to Las Vegas to track down his supposedly dead father. The trip continues as Alex meets his half-sister, resolves the mystery about his father, and travels on to Los Angeles to find his older brother. Details about his mother and her “quiet days,” mentioned throughout, take on increasing importance, especially once Alex returns home. Alex’s strong voice drives this compelling personal journey with resonant themes of family, friendship, and resilience. Ages 10–up.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2016
    If you made a recording to be heard by the aliens who found the iPod, what would you record?For 11-year-old Alex Petroski, it's easy. He records everything. He records the story of how he travels to New Mexico to a rocket festival with his dog, Carl Sagan, and his rocket. He records finding out that a man with the same name and birthday as his dead father has an address in Las Vegas. He records eating at Johnny Rockets for the first time with his new friends, who are giving him a ride to find his dead father (who might not be dead!), and losing Carl Sagan in the wilds of Las Vegas, and discovering he has a half sister. He even records his own awful accident. Cheng delivers a sweet, soulful debut novel with a brilliant, refreshing structure. His characters manage to come alive through the "transcript" of Alex's iPod recording, an odd medium that sounds like it would be confusing but really works. Taking inspiration from the Voyager Golden Record released to space in 1977, Alex, who explains he has "light brown skin," records all the important moments of a journey that takes him from a family of two to a family of plenty. Riveting, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious. (Fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2017

    Gr 4-6-Using only transcripts of podcast recordings to tell a story might be limiting for most narratives, but here it allows 11-year-old Alex Petroski's naivete and essentially optimistic and ethical nature to come shining through as he tells of his road trip with his dog, Carl Sagan. The decision to travel to SHARF (Southwest High Altitude Rocket Festival), near Albuquerque, NM, is as matter-of-fact as his choice to address his posts to possible extraterrestrials, who he hopes will find his iPod and figure out how things work on Earth. Alex's mother is clearly less than competent, and his distant brother, Ronnie, lives in Los Angeles, which allows Alex to pursue his intense interest in space and rockets unsupervised. Things go awry from the start, but various helpful characters come to his rescue, enabling Alex to continue his journey away from Rockview, CO, and eventually return to the town. He's an intelligent, likable kid, and readers will enjoy following his journey as he learns who is in his corner when the chips are down. It is eventually revealed that his mother has a mental illness, which shines light on the workings of their relationships and explains how Alex has come to be so self-sufficient. VERDICT A smart read with some serious themes. Give to tweens who love unusual realistic fiction.-Carol A. Edwards, formerly at Denver Public Library

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books chubbman123 - Review: 11 year old Alex Petroski is a boy who adores space like his idol Carl Sagon who is a fmaous astromemer. Alex thought to name his dog Carl Sagon. Alex has a mum that sits on the on the couch and has 'Quiet Days' and goes on 'walks' and his died when Alex was three, a brother who is a sports agent. Alex Petroski wants to launch his Golden IPod into space at .S.H.A.F.T. ( South-West High Altitude Rocket Festival ) Alex made food and cleaned up the house for his mum. When he got to the train station, he had a adult ticket and he was only 11 and you need to be 13 to usethe adult ticket and he needs a adult to get on the train until a boy pretended to be his brother and when he was on the train he stumbled across a karate master called Zed and a man called Steve that suffers arguments with his girlfriend. When he got to .S.H.A.F.T. He saw a lot more people that expecting, and Carl Sagon is very scared of people. Meanwhile, he was so amazed how many people were there. When he went up to launch his rocket meanwhile he witnessed frustrastion and other bad feelings. After the rocket launch he got a email from Ancestry.com and said there was a man as that has the same name and birthday as his dad, and said he lived in LA when he asked Steve My Dad Lives in LA and we need to go there , and steve said your in luck im going to LA today. Awesome when he arrived at the address he came across a relative he never knew he had and Alex suffers from losing a dog and his mum has schizophrenia. I recomend this book to 10-18 years because there is problems in the book and real life situations. Book By: Jack Cheng (Updated about less than a minute ago)
  • Booklist

    November 15, 2016
    Grades 4-7 Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski is from Rockview, Colorado, U.S.A., Planet Earth. He is recording sounds on his iPod to send into space, just like astronomer Carl Sagan did on his Voyager Golden Records (Alex admires Mr. Sagan so much that he named his dog after him). As he gets ready to attend a rocket festival in Albuquerque, Alex also records an audio journal of his life. Since his mom is not functional and his dad is dead, Alex travels by train solo with his dog. When Ancestry.com alerts him to a man with a name and birth date that match his father's, Alex determines to go to Las Vegas to search for himand ends up losing canine Carl Sagan. This book's strength is its exuberant and utterly believable first-person narrator: Alex is portrayed as intelligent and naive, irritating and endearing. But it's his earnestness that attracts a motley collection of adults who help when his mom goes missing. Good for both budding astronomers and fans of road trip books.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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